Uniting Church WA congregations are encouraged to explore how they can walk on the covenanting journey with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC).
In 1994, the Uniting Church in Australia entered a covenant with the UAICC, agreeing that together they will work towards justice and forgiveness. Mount Pleasant Uniting Church and Maaman “O” Miya Uniting Church, in Coolbellup, have had a covenantal relationship for more than 20 years, which began with a friendship between the late Rev Dr Les Brockway and the late Rev Garlett. The congregations worship together sometimes, share each other’s spaces, and do activities together.
Cheryl Lawson, member of Maaman “O” Miya and of the UAICC, said both congregations hang paintings in their buildings which share part of the story.
“You go to Mount Pleasant Uniting Church and you’ll see two big paintings; they tell a story about the crow and the magpie. From the connection into Christianity for Nyungars, this story came,” said Cheryl. “And when you come to Maaman “O” Miya you see on the wall a picture of a bowl and a light. In this wooden bowl you see ripples through the grain of it and that tells the story of the ongoing journey of who we are. And we walk together.”
Kalamunda and Foothills St Martin’s Uniting Churches have also recently started a ‘Yarning Circle’, to discuss how they can actively work in covenanting among their congregations. While the group is new, it is a step the Covenanting Commission would like to encourage.
“Reaching out is one of the biggest things congregations can do,” Cheryl said. “Wanting to learn what the Covenant is about, how can we implement that within our congregations – as all congregations are different – and also respecting each other in doing that.
“One way we do things is we like to sit and yarn. You get more out of a person when you ask them how they have been, or where they have been. They’ll sit there and tell you a story; it’s storytelling.
“People have their own journey, but within this covenant, what journey do they want to take, how would they like to do that, and how will they action that not only within their congregations, but within their life when they walk out into the world.”
Find out more about the Uniting Church in Australia’s covenantal relationship at assembly.uca.org.au/covenanting.
To discuss forming a covenanting group or yarning circle in your congregation, get in touch with the Uniting Church WA Covenanting Commission by emailing Geoff Bice, Social Justice Consultant, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9260 9800.