The Week of Prayer for Reconciliation and National Reconciliation Week are held each year between 27 May and 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey – the anniversaries of the successful 1967 referendum and the Mabo decision.
As an initiative of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation (now Reconciliation Australia) and communities of faith across the country, the Week of Prayer for Reconciliation was established in 1993 and continues to receive strong support from faith communities. The week-long event has been celebrated nationally across the general community since 1996 when it evolved into National Reconciliation Week.
The week is an opportunity to connect with the broader community to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and to explore how each of us can join the national reconciliation effort.
This National Reconciliation Week Guide for Churches provides useful information and ideas on how to get involved during the Week of Prayer for Reconciliation.
What you can do during the Week of Prayer for Reconciliation?
Join with other churches who are holding a service for reconciliation during the Week of Prayer for Reconciliation, preceded or followed by a morning or afternoon tea.
Here are some ideas to make your service and morning or afternoon tea a great way to build and maintain strong and respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous Australians in your church community:
1. Incorporate songs, prayers, readings and liturgy that focus on reconciliation, creation and justice. There are plenty of resources out there, and we encourage you to talk amongst your church or ask your leadership about resources for your church. As a starting point, TEAR Australia has some great worship resources, which can be found here.
2. Include a Welcome to Country or Acknowledgment of Country. Australians Together has information on how to make Welcome or Acknowledgement of Country meaningful for your church event. Learn more here.
3. Register your event on Reconciliation Australia’s NRW website to join a community of Australians across the country who are celebrating National Reconciliation Week: www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw or email email@example.com for some posters you can post up around your church to promote the week.
4. Encourage your congregation to visit Grant Paulson’s Week of Prayer for Reconciliation blog and add their prayers for reconciliation in the comments section. Your prayers will be included in a National Book of Prayer entitled “Reconciliation Well”, a proud joint initiative of World Vision Australia and Reconciliation Australia. Over the next two years, churches and communities across Australia will have the opportunity to read and contribute to the prayer book, encouraging and strengthen relationships within local communities, as it travels the country. Feel free to add your first name and home town to your online prayer.
5. Encourage your church choir to participate in our Sing Loud! song competition and join people across Australia sharing the spirit of reconciliation. Find out more here.
Reconciliation and Recognition go hand in hand
Patrick Dodson speaks on Reconciliation and Recognition