What spoke to you during this pre-assembly?
Prof. Pattel-Gray: The importance of recognising Indigenous people speaks to the integrity of the WCC [World Council of Churches] to ensure a continuing platform for the voices of First Nations People – to not only be heard but to also participate, and to have the opportunity to share our theological views and social-political struggles with each other.
What is the main message Indigenous people will carry to the assembly?
Prof. Pattel-Gray: The message from the Indigenous peoples to the WCC 11th Assembly is to make clear how imperative it is to the WCC’s integrity and salvation to fully resource a solely dedicated Indigenous Desk in the WCC so we can collaborate and coordinate with all other WCC desks. It is critical – more than ever – that our Indigenous theological perspective is embraced in every aspect of the WCC.
Would you like to comment on the Indigenous contribution to solutions to the climate crisis?
Prof. Pattel-Gray: The solutions to the growing concern of global climate change must include the ancient wisdom and knowledge of First Nations people as we have and continue to live with the whole of creation since time began. This is a resource that has not been recognised or embraced. The healing of creation must come through the First Nations people. Indigenous people from all over the globe bring a rich insight and theological perspective that have not been given the respect and credit that they should. We hold an ancient knowledge and relationship with the Creator that the western churches need to listen to.
What are your hopes and prayers for the assembly?
Prof. Pattel-Gray: That the WCC assembly recognises the importance of Indigenous peoples’ participation, and values them, and that the assembly ensures the independence and longevity of an Indigenous Desk.
Indigenous Peoples Pre-Assembly
WCC 11th Assembly in Karlsruhe, Germany
First published on the World Council of Churches website on 30 August 2022.
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Aunty Prof. Anne Pattel-Gray is based in Brisbane, and St Francis College, which is joining the University of Divinity, looks forward to working with her.Jump to next article