On the Sunday before Australia Day, Uniting Church congregations across the country hold worship services to reflect upon and lament the effect of the invasion and colonisation of this nation upon First Peoples.
The observance of a Day of Mourning was endorsed by the 15th Assembly arising from a request of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC). All Uniting Church in Australia congregations are invited to hold worship services that reflect on the effects of invasion and colonisation on Australia’s First Peoples and our identity as a nation.
Interim UAICC Chair Ps Mark Kickett said the Day of Mourning is the beginning of a journey with Uniting Church and UAICC and First Peoples across the country.
“It is monumental to have the Uniting Church stand and affirm who we are, our connection to country, our sovereignty, our life that has existed long before colonisation. Not just that, but the challenges for First Nations people having to survive, to find a voice, and to fight for justice that we as people desire,” Mark said.
Dr Deidre Palmer, President of the Uniting Church in Australia, said it was important to acknowledge and remember the true history of our country.
“As Second Peoples it is important for us to confess our complicity in the historical and ongoing disposession of First Peoples. When we see racism it is really important that we call that out and contribute to the healing of our relationship as First and Second Peoples through lament, confession and seeking forgiveness,” Deidre said.
Dr Deidre Palmer and Ps Mark Kickett will together lead a Day of Mourning service of worship at 9.30am AEDT on Sunday 24 January 2021, livestreamed from the Nunyara Conference Centre in Adelaide so people from across the country can join. You can access the service from the Uniting Church in Australia Facebook page and a downloadable version will also be available after the service.
You are invited to host a Day of Mourning in your own communities, using the resource below, adapted to your local context.
To help record the Uniting Church’s participation in this event, please register your Day of Mourning event. The Uniting Church in Australia may contact you to share your stories of marking this important day of lament.
Watch the introduction video from Dr Deidre Palmer and Ps Mark Kickett
This article originally appeared on the Uniting Church in Australia website.