Common Grace launched the national Listen to the Heart campaign this week, calling Christians to vote ‘yes’ in the referendum for a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous Voice to Parliament.
Led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian leaders, Listen to the Heart invites Christians across Australia to deeply listen to the calls of Indigenous peoples for justice, through Voice, together with Treaty and Truth-Telling.
Common Grace National Director Gershon Nimbalker said the campaign will give Christians a chance to reflect on the significance of the Uluru Statement From the Heart and then act together for change.
“I’m convinced of the power that Christians have when they work together with God to pursue the goodness that He intends,” Gershon said.
“Common Grace believes that as followers of Christ, we are called to love and respect our neighbours, to seek justice and righteousness, to repent and make amends for wrongdoing, and to work towards Reconciliation and healing.
“A constitutionally enshrined First Nations Voice to Parliament would provide a formal mechanism for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to participate more fully in decision making processes that affect their lives and communities, ensuring their voices are heard.
“It’s a step towards better policy, towards addressing the harm and injustice that they have endured, and towards Reconciliation.
“Constitutional change is hard in Australia – only eight out of our 44 referendums have been successful. We know some parts of the Church are uncertain about this referendum, but we hear the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian leaders calling us to act and a successful ‘yes’ vote is what the overwhelming majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples want.”
Common Grace Relationships and Storytelling Coordinator Safina Stewart, a proud Wuthithi and Mabuiag Island woman, said a “yes” vote would renew faith in ourselves as a nation and in the repairing process of Reconciliation.
“The whole of Australia would be gifted when our First Peoples can give full expression to our cultural beauty and have justice and self-determination restored,” Safina said.
“Whenever we yarn about topics like Voice, treaties, or truth-telling, we always come back to the topic of justice. This is because of the injustices that continue to wreak havoc in the daily lives and future of our people.
“We face much sorrow for our people, and much frustration at structures that inhibit the health, freedom and flourishing of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities.
“Yet, I’m always astounded by the resilience and faith of our Aboriginal Christian leaders. They remind me of the impossibility of justice or restoration without relationship to Creator, the resurrecting power of Jesus, and guiding inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
“I would like to ask churches to pay special attention to the voices of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian leaders who burn brightly for hope, justice and gritty grace.”
Common Grace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Justice Coordinator Bianca Manning, a Gomeroi woman, said that the Indigenous Voice to Parliament will help bring healing.
“Jesus has heard the cries of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, who have been raising their voices for self-determination and justice for over 200 years,” Bianca said.
“An Indigenous Voice to Parliament, alongside truth-telling and treaties, is an important step on this healing journey.”
The Listen to the Heart campaign will include wisdom from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian leaders, church resources, online training, helpful conversation tips, guidance for meeting with parliamentarians, prayers and much more.
Register online to join Common Grace on the journey to Listen to the Heart in 2023.
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