CALLS FOR CHANGE: Reports from the Elderly, Theologian, Women, Youth, and Clergy focus groups inspired the release of three statements from the Anglican Indigenous Network to the Anglican Consultative Council.
Their first statement acknowledges the make-up of the network. As indigenous peoples who are minorities living in their own homelands, they affirm their commitment to the Anglican faith as well as their respective traditional spiritualities.
“We share many things in common. We believe that God is leading us to a turning point in our histories, toward full partnership between indigenous peoples.
We have pledged to work together to exercise our leadership in contributing our vision and gifts to transform the life of the Anglican Communion,” they stated.
They call for greater recognition from the rest of the Anglican Communion saying they have come from countries which have experienced and continue to experience the effects of colonialism.
“We claim our authority to live into God’s future for us based upon our values, teachings, and communal self-understandings.”
“As indigenous Anglicans, we believe it is time for national churches whose borders are based upon colonial conquest, to respectfully and formally acknowledge the reality of our existence and the implications for their on-going life and governance.” - Reference: Article 36 United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 2007
The second statement requests the AIN Secretariat to convey, on behalf of the 12th AIN gathering, to the ACC that an additional Mark of Mission “To encourage development of Indigenous leadership within the Anglican Communion,” be added to the current Five Marks of Mission.
Their third statement calls for the Anglican Church in Australia to demonstrate just and moral leadership for indigenous issues. Asking the question: Unless the Church is transformed how can it seek to transform society?
“The proposed referendum regarding the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Australia is a case in point where the Church is called to demonstrate moral and just leadership.
The Anglican Indigenous Network expresses concern that the potential dis-establishment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander bishops in Australia be addressed,” they stated.
Endorsing NATSIAC as the Indigenous authority for the Anglican Church of Australia, and encouraging the Anglican Church of Australia to recognise and enable the Indigenous authority for all matters related to Indigenous mission and ministry in the church.
“Given the crises in our communities and to ensure the survival of Anglicanism in our communities we call, within the next year, for the election and consecration of an Aboriginal bishop with full Episcopal authority and generous funding support to grow and strengthen Aboriginal church communities.”
The gathering finally concluded with the decision to hold the 13th gathering of AIN (2013) in Christchurch, New Zealand, hosted by Te Pihopatanga o Aotearoa.