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President's Reflection

This year’s NAIDOC week theme was striking - Get up, Stand Up, Show Up. It was a call to not be passive.

It was addressed to us all. 

We celebrated the history, experience and achievement of Australia’s First Peoples.   

NAIDOC is important as a continuing reminder that the dominant Anglo culture of Australia does not always create space for the oldest living culture to be affirmed and celebrated. 

So what did we hear this past week?

What were the feelings and experiences that were shared and what is the impact on us? In keeping with the Pauline image of the body and its unity in all its diversity we are sensitised to share and feel the pain and joy experienced by the differing parts of the body.  

One theme in NAIDOC that has stayed with is connected to the Uluru Statement from the Heart.  Last week I listened to an Indigenous person describe Welcomes to Country and the Statement from the Heart as expressions of hospitality and relationship. The speaker went on to say that when a Welcome to Country is given to a traveller it includes guidance on where to not go (for cultural reasons) and where it is good to travel (safety, food and water).

The Statement form the Heart is an invitation to be together in a journey of change. What I heard last week was an urgent desire to have the invitation accepted – at all levels and so build a better future for Australia’s First Peoples and all who call this land home.  Invitations generally come with a RSVP. I hear the hurt that this invitation is taking too long to be accepted. 

Rev. John Gilmore

NCCA President 

 

Christian Unity and fellowship

During the past week, Rev John Gilmore had the privilege of attending the Fifth Plenary Council of the Catholic Church of Australia as an Ecumenical observer.

The new president, Most Rev Timothy Costelloe SDB wrote a note of thanks to Rev Gilmore and General Secretary, Liz Stone for their attendance at the Ecumenical Dinner of the Plenary Council. 

"The Plenary Council process yielded many references to the need to engage more often in ecumenical initiatives. I look forward to this renewed commitment to strengthening and building upon our shared commitment to interfaith dialogue and action" wrote Archbishop Costelloe. 

Below: Rev Gilmore and Liz Stone pictured (left of centre) and surrounded by our NCCA ecumenical friends.

     
           
    

Above: Rev John Gilmore right with Cardinal John Dew of Aotearoa/NZ. Cardinal John is the Oceania representative on the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Christian Unity 

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