- Who we are
- What we do
In recent years Australia day has increasingly contentious, particularly in regard to the past treatment of Aboriginal people.
For many Australia is a place of hope and joy. Millions have grown up here and are thankful for peaceful and prosperous lives. Others have come to Australia for refuge, leaving wars and conflicts in other countries. For these, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate Australia.
Yet for many Aboriginal Australians, January 26 is not a day of joy. Stan Grant writes that it is ‘for so many of the First Peoples of this continent…a day of pain, a reminder of the history of segregation, exclusion and brutality.’ (Australia Day, p.231). From arrival of the First Fleet white man spread out, not in friendship but with plans to take the land. This led to the horrendous treatment of many Aboriginal men, women and children – including family separation, rape and massacre. This history is a national tragedy.
So then, what are we to do with Australia Day? Grant writes, “One of my students asked me what I thought of Australia Day. It is a question I have wrestled with, torn between pride in my country and my family’s legacy of suffering…I know now, we are asking the wrong question. Australia is more than a day, it is more than a date – whatever that date may be. Moving the date or abolishing Australia day does not answer the question who are we? (p.233)
Who are we to be, and how will we get there? It is at this point it is well worth us listening to many Aboriginals as to their experiences and thoughts. And the gospel provides help too – remembering 54% of Aboriginals are Christian, to Australia’s 55%. For us to think and pray about:
This Sunday we continue our series looking at Hebrews with Sam speaking on the topic ‘Examples of faithful endurance‘, from Hebrews 11:1-40.
And a reminder that until February 2020, there will be no dinner after the 5pm Sunday service.
As always, come along and visit us at 9.30am or 5pm at 35 Fisher Street Oak Flats, or if you can’t make it in person, jump online at www.oakflats.tv to watch a livestream of our services.