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Australian bishops support First Nations peoples

The Australian Bishops present at Lambeth support the First Nations peoples (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) of Australia

The Australian bishops present at the Lambeth conference 2022 celebrate the support of the bishops called together by the Archbishop of Canterbury for the Lambeth Conference 2022 for the ‘Statement of Support regarding Indigenous Peoples in Canada and around the world’.

The Statement recognized and regretted the impacts of colonization that ‘stripped Indigenous peoples of their agency, identity, languages, cultures and governance; colluded with the Doctrine of Discovery (in the Australian context, the aspirations and impact of British imperialism), including corrosive government policies; denigrated their spiritual heritages; prohibited ceremonies and stole their land’.

We also acknowledge that many First Nations peoples rejoice in the gift of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and now serve the church in leadership throughout Australia.

With deep repentance the Australian bishops present at Lambeth 2022 recognize that the Anglican Church of Australia colluded in the above and within our own history aided the forced removal of First Nations children from their parents (the Stolen Generations) which has resulted in inter-generational trauma for many First Nations peoples. The Anglican Church of Australia acknowledges its own sinfulness in this regards, has sought forgiveness, but continues to walk with First Nations peoples on the long journey of reconciliation.

The Australian bishops present at Lambeth 2022 recognize the issues brought about by the colonization of Australia on the First Nations peoples that need our prayer, advocacy, and action include: poverty; climate change, in particular, but not exclusively, rising sea levels that are having devastating consequences for the Torres Strait Islander peoples; inadequate housing; under employment; youth suicide; appallingly high levels of youth and adult incarceration; deaths in custody; substance abuse and addiction; domestic and other forms of violence, low levels of education, and the ongoing presence of racism among the general population of Australia and its institutions, including the church.

The Australian bishops present at Lambeth 2022 acknowledge the riches that First Nations cultures bring to the Australian people and rejoice that this is beginning to be valued by many in Australia and the Church. We support the ‘Uluru Statement from the Heart’ and encourage a First Nations voice to be heard in the federal and state parliaments of our land. We join with the bishops present at Lambeth 2022 in committing ourselves to ‘walk with and support Indigenous peoples around the world…’

The Australian bishops present at Lambeth 2022

The Most Rev’d Geoff Smith – Primate
The Most Rev’d Dr Kay Goldsworthy
The Most Rev’d Dr Philip Freier
The Rt Rev’d Chris McLeod
The Rt Rev’d Dr Keith Joseph
The Rt Rev’d Cameron Venables
The Rt Rev’d Jeremy Greaves
The Rt Rev’d John Roundhill
The Rt Rev’d Grant Dibden
The Rt Rev’d Dr Greg Anderson
The Rt Rev’d Dr Mark Short
The Rt Rev’d Dr Richard Treloar
The Rt Rev’d Dr Peter Stuart
The Rt Rev’d Dr Matthew Brain
The Rt Rev’d Ian Coutts
The Rt Rev’d Charles Murry
The Rt Rev’d Sonia Roulston
The Rt Rev’d Carol Wagner
The Rt Rev’d Dr Paul Barker
The Rt Rev’d Dr Brad Billings
The Rt Rev’d Kate Prowd
The Rt Rev’d Jeremy James
The Rt Rev’d Clarence Bester
The Rt Rev’d Genieve Blackwell
The Rt Rev’d Donald Kirk
The Rt Rev’d Murray Harvey
The Rt Rev’d Dr Tim Harris
The Rt Rev’d Denise Ferguson
The Rt Rev’d Peter Grice

This article first appeared on the Anglican Board of Mission website.