In the lead-up to Australia’s National Reconciliation Week, from 27 May to 3 June, the LCA has released a video in which LCA/NZ Bishop John Henderson addresses the importance of developing and implementing an LCA Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
The church’s commitment to embark on a RAP, as requested by the 2018 General Synod, is a pledge to use a tailor-made planning tool to assist in our journey of reconciliation between First Nations peoples and other Australians. A key aim of the LCA RAP is for all members to better hear, recognise, learn from and empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the church.
‘Every life is precious, equal in worth and dignity’, Bishop Henderson says in the video. ‘Sadly, despite believing that Christ gave his life equally for all of us, too often we have allowed negative forces to drive us apart. But because of Jesus we can confess our sin and ask for forgiveness.’
In October 2018 General Synod called on the LCA’s General Church Board to develop and implement a RAP that will, among other things, ‘assist ongoing relationship-building through listening to Aboriginal people in the LCA; support non-Aboriginal people in the LCA to gain insight into what is important to Aboriginal people; … address questions of recognition and representation; and develop appropriate ways to encourage and enable Aboriginal people to serve and lead in all aspects of church life in the LCA’.
‘Reconciliation with God means we have strength, through his grace, to resume our journey as human beings who are reconciled to one another in Christ. This is how we treat all people’, Bishop Henderson says.
‘Developing and implementing a Reconciliation Action Plan promises to help us in our part of that journey. It’s a chance for us to pause, listen, consider, grow in understanding, and change how we think about and relate to one another …. Through God’s grace, we can continue to build a better way, a living way, to wholeness of life and community.’