by Marilyn Wall
Every journey starts with a first step. But remember, genuine cultural inclusivity takes time to embed, so such actions need to be ongoing.
Almost 12 months on from the endorsement of the LCA Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and six months after copies were distributed to all congregations, schools and agencies of the LCA, we might ask: ‘Are we there yet?’
That depends how we define ‘there’. One way is to measure our progress against the RAP’s four objectives, which encompass building relationships through listening; understanding what is important to Aboriginal people; providing a culturally appropriate mechanism to address recognition and representation; and developing appropriate ways to encourage and enable Aboriginal people to serve and lead in church life. While we have made a start, there is much to be done before such matters are embedded into the fabric of the church.
We can still improve our awareness. However, we also need to move beyond this and engage in actions.
Did you know that more than 80 per cent of those who identify as First Nations or Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia live, work and raise families in urban areas? So, we may have First Nations peoples in our local communities and ministry spaces.
Also, as Aboriginality is not just a matter of skin colour, would we know this is the case? Unless we build strong relationships and provide environments that are culturally inclusive, safe and welcoming to First Nations people, they may not identify as such.
Remember, every journey starts with a first step. Genuine cultural inclusivity takes time to embed, so such actions need to be ongoing.
Perhaps your ministry has a story of engagement with and growth of relationships between First Nations peoples and others. We would love to hear and share your stories and photos – email them to email@example.com
Want ideas? Here are some initiatives being undertaken by Lutheran ministries:
- Utilising worship resources shared by the Commission on Worship through its Worship Planning Page (lca.org.au/wpp), for occasions of significance for First Nations peoples
- Discussing, researching and identifying the traditional country upon which a ministry is happening and including this information on signage or websites
- Including Acknowledgements of Country in publications
- Incorporating stories and resources from the LCA RAP website (rap.lca.org.au) into ministry programs
- Experiencing the relationship and awareness rewards of connections with remote Lutheran Aboriginal communities
- Developing or investigating a Narragunawalli (a RAP for schools)
Marilyn Wall is the LCA’s RAP Project Officer