National Reconciliation Week Message 2021

Reconciliation is at the heart of the Christian faith.  As he departed from them, the risen Lord Jesus charged his disciples to make known the message of reconciliation to all nations, beginning in the place of the resurrection, Jerusalem. We, the present- day followers of Jesus, have the same mission: to show forth in word and action the ministry of reconciliation. Each Sunday, we are encouraged to seek reconciliation with God. We pause and recall our own sins and shortcomings, and the way in which others may have hurt us, and tell them to God, asking for healing and forgiveness. Later in the service, we have the opportunity to share a sign of peace with one another. Peace with God and peace with one another is what reconciliation seeks to achieve.

What holds true in our spiritual lives, also holds true in our national life. On our own journey to reconciliation with First Nations People, the telling of our sins and shortcomings, and the listening to the injuries and hurts of the past that have been committed are requisite before we may go on seeking peace by offering restoration and reparation. Truth telling is an essential part of the journey to reconciliation – it is the beginning that journey. Restoration and reparation are just as important. Chapter has committed to matching the annual tax we pay to the Crown as land taxes as reparation, which we spend on commissioning works of art from Indigenous artists. During the past year, we have worked with Indigenous painters, theologians and composers in creating new works of art – our Pentecost premiere of Come Holy Spirit was a prayer commissioned from Trawloolway Pairrebeenener man, the Revd Dr Gary Worete Deverill, set to music by Philip Nicholls.

During the past year we have been working with a Wiradjuri man, the Revd Glenn Loughrey, on a large-scale artistic commission to provide a permanent acknowledgement of the Country on which we worship, the traditional lands of the Kulin nation. Featured above, Glenn has created a magnificent map of the lands on which our Diocese ministers – the Yarra valley and city, and Port Phillip bay and the You Yangs.

It is planned that this map will be cast as six opaque glass panels by Wathaurong artist Mark Edwards, and installed in our Narthex Screen. In this way the Cathedral literally looks out onto the Country on which we worship: when we look through the screen into the Narthex and the city our view is shaped by the depiction of the lands of the Kulin nation. We expect to submit an application to Heritage Victoria in the coming month, following a cultural consultation, and hope to cast and install the glass panels later this year.

Reconciliation starts when we begin to tell and listen to the truth, and commit to work for justice. This powerful message is the heart of our faith. I encourage you this Reconciliation Week, and beyond, to show by your words and actions that you belong to Jesus who, by his death, wrought our reconciliation, and by his rising again gave us the space for new life to flourish where death once held sway.

The Very Revd Dr Andreas Loewe, Dean of Melbourne.

Cover Image: Naarm – Always Was Always Will Be Kulin by Glenn Loughrey

This article was originally included in the June edition of Notes & News. You can read the full edition by clicking here.