Wednesday, November 21, 2012

a turning point in indigenous relationship

Earlier this year I was privileged to ask a question.

It began a conversation.

It led to a process.

Which I ended up in a room, watching indigenous people work on a translation of some communion words into their local language.

I described the encounter from my perspective prior, and after, here – We lift up our livers, the richness of culture crossing.

On Monday, I got the chance to read another perspective. Another person in the room has written up the encounter as a journal article and sent me the draft for comment. It is still in process, but it was fascinating to read the encounter from another perspective. Two quotes are worth documenting.

First the significance. This apparently, “it signifies a turning point in the relationship between at least a small group of Australian mainstream Christians and the local Aboriginal community. Almost 175 years after the first encounters of the local Aborigines with the missionaries, whitefella Christians had come to Aboriginal Kaurna people to ask for spiritual guidance, by translating a Christian liturgy into the Kaurna language that carries a completely different perception of life, world and faith.” That’s humbling. But also deeply disappointing, that it took 175 years.

Second, the challenge. “It will be interesting to see if, and to what extent, the students and lecturers at the Uniting Church College will engage in such an inter-religious dialogue.”

Since then, we’ve had 2 sessions of input from local indigenous folk into one of our classes. Since then, we’ve done work to make indigenous exposure a compulsory part of our Candidate formation and the first experience will be offered February 2013. Since then, we’ve continued an English as a second language pilot, exploring how to train across cultures. Since then, we’ve continued to build networks and relationships. Since then, we’ve put in a funding bid, seeking a partnership that might allow us to capture indigenous stories from key elders.

But we’ve only just begun …

Posted by steve at 09:23 AM


  1. Every time I think of a great way to shape theological education and formation, I find out you guys are doing it. Thank you!

    Comment by ian Robbo — November 21, 2012 @ 10:56 am

  2. 🙂


    Comment by steve — November 21, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

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