On Sundays, after our service, some people choose to attend a Sunday Program that is of interest to them. For the next two Sundays we are offering a program for the whole church – “Uniting for the Voice.”
The Constitutional referendum will propose establishment of a body, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice, that will be empowered to make representations to Parliament and the Executive Government on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
Guided by its covenant with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, the Uniting Church has a strong position in support of the Voice, St Michael’s Church Council has included advocating for the Voice as an action in support of its strategic mission goals.
How to maintain an open conversation and advocate for the ‘yes’ vote is a challenge. On its website, the University of Melbourne has expressed this tension in a way that both recognises the right of everyone in the university community to engage in evidence-based, respectful expression of views, and declares the University’s support for the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the referendum ‘yes’ vote. You can read the statement here.
The mission of a church and the mission of a university are not the same. Our reflection on the Voice is grounded in our commitment to following the Way of Jesus, and our belief that our faith shapes how we participate in society. The Uniting Church views the Voice as a theological and ethical issue, not a political one. However, we share with the university a desire to create a space for respectful conversation.
Our first session will include information and discussion using resources from the Uniting Church and the “From the Heart” website. We seek to create a space that is neither ‘left’ or the ‘right’ – a space where we are open to what the Spirit is saying to the church. I hope you will join us.