As many from the Uniting Church gather together in Melbourne for our National Assembly we pay respect to the First Peoples of this land, their elders, past, present and emerging and commit to work for reconciliation and justice.

We may say this at the beginning of worship or when we gather as the people of God to acknowledge that we live on land that belongs to the First Peoples and to express our Covenant (Relationship) with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress.

But just how do we walk together?

How do we acknowledge the injustices of the past and work for justice right now?

How do we even start having conversations – or join in the conversations that are already happening?

One way is to participate in NAIDOC week events between 8th -15th July  This year’s theme is “Because of her, we can”  celebrating the active and significant roles Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played – and continue to play –  at the community, local, state and national levels.

Another way is through group study.

A resource I recommend is Walking Together as First and Second Peoples, Study 2 of the recent study series produced by the UCA Vic/Tas Synod.  All the studies can be found here.

The UCA National Body – the Assembly – has a number of videos, bible studies and worship resources that can help you explore the relationship between First Peoples and Second Peoples (all those who have come after the First Peoples).

This includes

A Destiny Together – resources from a Week of Prayer and Fasting culminating in worship on the lawns of Parliament House in Canberra in 2012.

Walking Together – resources to explore the covenant between First and Second Peoples.

My walk of faith has been challenged, enriched and enlivened through committing to the covenant between First and Second Peoples in this land.  I invite you into this journey of faith, of justice and of longing for reconciliation.

Rev Michelle Cook 
Presbytery Minister – Mission Development