Pictured: Pastor George Rosendale (now deceased) and Dr Lance Steicke [Source The Lutheran, August 2000 edition]
Article by Marilyn Wall
Saturday, February 13, 2021 marks the 13th Anniversary of the National Apology, made by the former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, to the Stolen Generations of First Nations peoples!
But did you know that 8 years prior to this, July 23 2000, our very own Lutheran Church of Australia delivered their own Acknowledgement and Apology. The occasion, was the LCA’s 2000 National Synod with the delivery by Dr Lance Steicke, the then President of the LCA.
“We are sorry for the bad things that have happened in the past.
Please forgive us.”
Is this not an occasion we too should mark within churches, to remind our future generations of the commitment that was made on behalf of the Church at that time? Resolving to work together with Aboriginal peoples, to share and learn together, to accept and respect each other, Dr Steicke, implored for help, on behalf of the non-Aboriginal sections of the church, to continue to engage in the reconciliation journey together.
Help us to listen to you and learn from you.
We promise to work with you and others for justice and harmony in relationships.
Witnessed by the large congregation at the 2000 Synodical Convention in Tanunda, SA, a formal rite of reconciliation between the Lutheran Church of Australia and Indigenous brothers and sisters in Christ, was led by the late Pastor George Rosendale, from Hope Vale in Far North Queensland and Dr Lance Steicke (see picture above). During the proceedings Pastor Jimmy Haines (who has since died) spoke on behalf of the Aboriginal peoples of Central Australia, while Dr Ishmael Noko, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation, commended the steps taken by the LCA.
Leading to this was the submission of the report entitled ‘We’re All People’ by the then LCA Committee convened to research Aboriginal issues and ministry. Prepared for the 1997 General Synod, this report included more than 30 Recommendations for consideration and implementation.
The Lutheran (28 August 2000) reported on these reconciliation events of the 2000 Synod. Additional information can be sourced from the Lutheran Archives.
- Read: The full text of LCA’s Acknowledgement and Apology to the Aboriginal Peoples 
- Read: Pastor Jimmy Haines’ (Aboriginal pastor from Central Australia) response to Acknowledgement and Apology, Convention of General Synod 2000
- Read: ‘We are Sorry …. Please forgive us’ [The Lutheran 28 August 2000, p8]
- Read: ‘We’re All People’: Report and Recommendation of the LCA Committee on Aboriginal Issues and Ministry 
- View: The Lutheran 28 August 2000, p1,6-19
- FAQs The National Apology to the Stolen Generations [Source: Reconciliation Australia]
Marilyn Wall is the RAP Project Officer
LCA’s Hearing the Indigenous Voice