and Sorry Day
Reconciliation Week (27 May to 3 June) and Sorry Day (26 May)
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) commemorates two important achievements towards Reconciliation in Australia: the 1967 referendum which resulted in the inclusion of Aboriginal people in the census, and the Mabo decision on Native Title. The week started out as a week of Prayer for Reconciliation in 1993, which was the International Year of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. This was supported by many faiths, including our own Anglican Church, acknowledging our reliance on God for true reconciliation amongst such great suffering within our country.
This years’ theme, ‘In This Together’ celebrates our common humanity across the diversity of our cultures and lives, affirming that our differences can create community rather than adversity. As Anglican Christians we understand very well unity is created through diversity and we are encouraged to find ways to celebrate and promote this unity through acts of reconciliation this week.
More information can be found at www.reconciliation.org.au/national-reconciliation-week/
Some prayers you may like to include in your worship can be found at http://www.natsicc.org.au/reconciliation-week-prayers.html
Sorry Day acknowledges that everyone in Australia, aboriginal and non-aboriginal, are in a relationship together. We all share this wonderful land, created as God’s good earth, and we all share in a common life together as neighbours and friends. In any relationship there are hurts and fractures; damage that is done we wish was never done. As part of healing, we apologise to the offended party and say ‘Sorry’.
Sorry Day recognises the time that, we as a nation did this, as a way of moving forward in building a better, more loving relationship between aboriginal and non-aboriginal Australians. Following the Bringing Them Home report, the first Sorry Day was held on 26 May 1998, to commemorate the anniversary of the report and remember the grief, suffering and injustice experienced by the stolen generations. This year we can remember that apology and acknowledge that the pain and damage that led to it still exists. We can still say, ‘Sorry’.
The following prayer for Sorry Day is from www.commongrace.org.au/national_sorry_day.
Sorry Day Prayer written by the Aboriginal and Islander Commission National Council of Churches in Australia 2002
Almighty and loving God, you who created ALL people in your image,
Lead us to seek your compassion as we listen to the stories of our past. You gave your only Son, Jesus, who died and rose again so that sins will be forgiven.
We place before you the pain and anguish of dispossession of land, language, lore, culture and family kinship that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have experienced. We live in faith that all people will rise from the depths of despair and hopelessness. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families have endured the pain and loss of loved ones, through the separation of children from their families.
We are sorry and ask God’s forgiveness.
Touch the hearts of the broken, homeless and inflicted and heal their spirits. In your mercy and compassion walk with us as we continue our journey of healing to create a future that is just and equitable.
Lord, you are our hope. Amen.
Earth Day 1970 is widely acknowledged as the start of the modern environmental movement. The EcoCare Commission Celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day online on 22 April. It was new way of gathering to give thanks for God’s Creation and the people of faith, and of no faith, who care and work for the Earth. The service went very well and included prayers, a message from Bishop Tom Wilmot, a time for participants to share images and videos of their gardens or the land they love, and a final blessing by Archbishop Kay. Thank you to all who made the event a success.
A recording of the service can be found on EcoCare’s Facebook page.