Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

In 2019, Synod passed a resolution to support the Statement from the Heart and the establishment of a Makarrata (Truth Telling) Commission.

The Synod resolution affirmed our ongoing commitment to covenanting and reconciliation with Australia’s First Peoples. It acknowledges that reconciliation is of God and is an expression of renewing life based on love and forgiveness.

In May 2020, I accepted a secondment to Synod to help support Congregations and Presbyteries to develop real covenant relationships with First Peoples’ communities, furthering the life and witness of the church.

This has been a great journey, with more and more congregations and Presbyteries seeking to find ways to put the Uniting Church in Australia’s Covenant Statement of 1994 into practice.

I am an Aboriginal man, of Anaiwon and Gomeroi heritage in North Western NSW. A descendant of “Queen” Mary Ann Sullivan, Susan Munro, and Tina Brown. My grandmother “Molly” (Mary) Moss (Dec.) was Tina’s granddaughter. I have lived most of my life in Sydney, having attended University and then raised a family here.

I have spoken to the Moderator Rev. Simon Hansford at length about his hopes for covenanting during the remainder of my secondment with the Synod. He said that in issuing the Covenant Statement in 1994 the Church made a genuine commitment to support the Ministry of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) and to advocate for improved socio-economic outcomes for First Peoples.

While in the past the Church may have remained silent about government treatment of First Peoples, the Covenant Statement commits the Church to speaking up about matters of injustice impacting on the lives of First Peoples.

I have spent most of my adult life advocating for the rights of Aboriginal peoples. I have worked in a variety of roles with organisations such as the NSW Ombudsman’s Office, the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the NSW Anti-Discrimination Board, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission. I know the power we are capable of harnessing, individually and collectively, and how this can ultimately lead to positive social justice outcomes for First Peoples.

How you can help

I am asking you to raise your voice now in support of the church’s commitment to bring reconciliation.

We have launched an advocacy initiative that allows people to send a letter to key Members of Parliament seeking their support in achieving the aspirations of First Peoples as embodied in the Statement from the Heart.

You can join this action simply by clicking this link. It will take you an automatically generated email which we invite you to read and affirm by sending to an MP in your name.

In sending this email you are asking the NSW and ACT Governments to establish a process of agreement-making with First Nations, and truth-telling about the history of Australia’s First Peoples.

You are also asking the Commonwealth Government to implement a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution to empower First Peoples to have a greater say in policy and legislation, improving autonomy and prosperity.

I thank members of our Uniting Church, and other supporters, who have taken the time to support this initiative. Your participation is greatly appreciated. I would also like to thank the Moderator, and staff of the Synod Office, for their support of this initiative.

Yours sincerely,

 

Nathan Tyson

Relationship and Service Manager | Synod Office |M 0438 714 862 | E NathanT@nswact.uca.org.au | 

W nswact.uca.org.au |Uniting Church Synod of NSW and ACT