Wednesday 25 May
National Reconciliation Week: 27 May - 3 June.
It has been great to connect with Senior Pastors from across our Australian Baptist movement this week at their national gathering. I am thankful for the partnership we share with so many churches across the nation and the role pastors play in fostering these partnerships.
The theme of change was front and centre at the conference, as pastors considered the new environment we find ourselves in as a result of the pandemic and its related effects.
Let me encourage you to be praying for your pastor and for pastors across our movement as they lead and navigate congregations in this season of change.
There was also discussion at the conference as to how do leaders and our movement more intentionally listen to voices of women, First Nations people and those from a non-English speaking background.
At Baptist Mission Australia we are committed to pursuing intentional listening initiatives across these three very important groups.
We have a rich history of celebrating the place of women in leadership and ministry in our organisation and we want to ensure we have good mechanisms in place so we can hear from women across our organisation. We are committed to addressing gender bias and supporting women in all spheres of our organisation.
This will include a feedback survey that we will soon be distributing to women across our organisation.
We have had a number of encouraging conversations with leaders of LOTE churches in recent months as we consider some exciting partnership possibilities.
Our LOTE churches continue to grow across Australia and many leaders have a heart for local mission and mission opportunities in their countries of origin. We will welcome your prayers for these collaborative conversations and for the Spirit to be opening the right doors.
We also recognise our very real need to be listening to the voices of First Nations people.
We are thankful to God for the ministry we have had alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the past. We recognise we made some mistakes and there are things we would do differently today, but we are so thankful for the opportunity our mission community has had to celebrate with, learn and be alongside First Nations brothers and sisters.
We acknowledge that National Reconciliation Week [NRW] begins on Friday.
The dates for NRW remain the same each year; 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey— the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.
Reconciliation must live in the hearts, minds and actions of all Australians as we move forward, creating a nation strengthened by respectful relationships between the wider Australian community, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
We all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures, and futures.
You can read more about NRW and practical support ideas at www.reconciliation.org.au.
Please join me as we pray for listening and learning opportunities in 2022. Please pray for team members in Outback Australia and Sydney serving alongside First Nations people. And pray as we consider how Baptist Mission Australia can intentionally play our part in fostering reconciliation.
Grace and peace
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