Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture

ACC&C signs the Victorian Multifaith Advisory Group Statement for NAIDOC Week

15 Jul 2022 - by Lauren Bartley

The ACC&C has joined in signing the Statement for NAIDOC Week composed by the Multifaith Advisory Group (MAG) for the Victorian Multicultural Commission (VMC). Read the MAG statement here. The statement was presented at the first in person meeting of the MAG in 2 years. ACC&C adjunct scholar Bishop Philip Huggins was the Master of Ceremonies for the meeting and gave the following introductory speech.

“What have we learned about repairing relationships and reconciling? Here are a couple of very summary reflections from our wide experience together.”

  1. We have to try and BE the reconciliation we seek.

    In our spirit, in our manner. A synergy, that is , between our spiritual practice and our daily living.

    Always seeking to heal and never to harm.

    Always wanting to help people live without fear, peacefully.

    It was an Indigenous Elder who first said to me that “we must ourselves be the reconciliation we seek.”

  2. The process of reconciliation is always complex but we all have to take what initiative we can.

    That is, after listening carefully, imagining together a better future and taking the actions that go in that direction…As we seek to do tonight.

  3. The History in a place matters.

    Culture is shaped by the history of relationships in a place.

    What has happened needs to be known, if relationships and culture are going to be healthier.

    If the previous history remains unreconciled, trust will need repair.

    Building trust starts with listening carefully and discussing. Then doing those things that are asked.

    Hence tonight-listening to the Yoorrook Commision; the Statement from the Heart.

  4. Reconciliation can face perplexing resistances.

    When there has been a persistent pattern of damage ,people can become habituated to alienation from each other-an “us “ and a “them”.

    The whole narrative of a life may have to be re-imagined to make room for the possibility of a more reconciled and reconciling future.

    Additionally, we keep making mistakes.

    As well as clearly malevolent acts, many mistakes of apparently well intended people are also part of the history!

    How we manage together the mistakes we make is crucial to sustained reconciliation.

  5. Reconciliation can seem quite elusive, a future we never quite reach.

All we can do is to keep creating meeting places so as to listen well.

Taking every opportunity to deepen relationships and to create real friendships.

Friendship is the key. The warmth and the trust of genuine friendship helps us create a just peace for everyone.

The friendships between members of our MAG have been and are crucial to our quality of multi faith harmony in Victoria.

Tonight, we hope and pray to enhance and expand our circle of friends.

So now, with these few reflections ,much loved and highly respected Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin gives her Welcome to Country.