On 21 January this year, Citywide Baptist Church held Aboriginal Sunday at Risdon Brook Dam. This is the third year where Citywide has come together to further understand and acknowledge the hurt caused to Aboriginal peoples right up to now. It continues a Christian tradition that began in 1938.
This year’s service, held on the Sunday before 26 January, was at Risdon Brook Dam.
“Choosing to meet at Risdon Brook Dam is significant. Less than one Kilometre from the site was the first massacre of over 50 Aboriginal people by white settlers in 1804,” said Paul Dare, Aboriginal member of Citywide Baptist Church.
“But with God there is always grace and hope. Grace to move forward and hope for what Jesus is doing,” he said.
“Through the service we encouraged the congregation to create space, listen to and research Tasmanian Aboriginal history. But also, to be aware of the injustices and inequalities many of our Aboriginal communities face in our nation still,” he said.
Aboriginal Sunday is not new. On 26 January 1938, Aboriginal leaders including William Cooper, met for a Day of Mourning, seeking equality and full citizenship. Consequently, Australian Churches set aside the day as Aboriginal Sunday (previously called Aborigines’ Day). This is for Christians to act in solidarity with the injustices Aboriginal peoples have experienced.
This year over 490 local churches and faith communities marked Aboriginal Sunday and joined in taking up this call to act in solidarity with Aboriginal peoples, according to Common Grace.
Today, the Common Grace movement encourages congregations to reclaim the Day. They provide free Church Resources developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian Leaders to equip churches and faith communities to act in solidarity.
Citywide welcomes other Tasmanian churches to join them at their event in 2025.
Alternatively, churches and faith communities can sign up on the Common Grace website to receive links to resources for next year.
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