With the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) document in hand and copies of the RAP poster, I returned to Central Australia in October. The purpose of my visit was to discuss how best to share this information with the Aboriginal members in the Lutheran communities.
Endorsed by the General Church Board and Reconciliation Australia in August 2020, the LCA RAP has its genesis in the church’s ‘Hearing the Indigenous Voice’ initiative (2016).
The RAP proposal, ratified by a near-unanimous vote at the 2018 General Convention of Synod (in Sydney), identified four key strategies by which the church would seek to hear better the Indigenous voice to:
- assist ongoing relationship building through listening to Aboriginal people in the LCA
- support non-Aboriginal people in the LCA to gain insight into what is important to Aboriginal people
- provide a culturally appropriate mechanism by which our church together with (inclusive of) Aboriginal people and communities within the LCA can address questions of recognition and representation, and
- develop appropriate ways to encourage and enable Aboriginal people to serve and lead in all aspects of church life in the LCA.
The complexity of such a task is recognised. It means that some deep listening needs to happen. Deep listening is a process of listening to learn. It requires the temporary suspension of judgement, and a willingness to receive new information – whether that be pleasant or unpleasant.
I shared the intention of the RAP, using the story of the RAP hero artwork ‘Many Eyes’, with both Aboriginal ministry support workers as well as Aboriginal church members in Alice Springs and Hermannsburg. The invitation to share this with family and community was issued, as well as requests for additional posters. The Aboriginal ladies in Alice Springs decided they would like to tell their story of ‘reconciliation’ and produce their own artwork ‘to share with others’.
The story of the ‘Many Eyes’ RAP artwork is explained on page 2 of the RAP document, which can be found on the LCA RAP website www.rap.lca.org.au
Marilyn Wall is the LCA’s RAP project officer.