Amidst race-related protests, Anglican Aid CEO urges Christians to support Indigenous ministry
- by Zhien-U Bakarich
- June 5, 2020
As voices rise calling for better outcomes for Indigenous Australians, Anglican Aid CEO Rev Tim Swan commends to your consideration supporting Christian, grass-roots reconciliation and restoration programs here in Sydney.
“Holistic, gospel-centred ministry within Indigenous communities is vital.” says Swan in response to the recent activism sparked by escalating racial tensions in Australia and the US. “The Christian message is that an unjustly crucified Messiah rose to reconcile all people to God and to each other.”
“Holistic, gospel-centred ministry within Indigenous communities is vital. The Christian message is that an unjustly crucified Messiah rose to reconcile all people to God and to each other.” – Rev. Tim Swan, CEO
Anglican Aid’s Community Care project partner Living Water Community Church works closely with the local Indigenous community in the inner city. More than half of the church members are Indigenous Australians. Together, the church is seeking to live out being reconciled and united in Christ.
The Redfern-based church runs a variety of activities including youth mentoring, prison visits, and community events, led by Rev Matt Paterson.
Rev Paterson says, “The events of the past couple of weeks have been absolutely horrifying.”
Rev Paterson leads the church which is attended by the family of a young Aboriginal person who was the centre of media coverage about over-use of police force on Monday. He describes the 16-year old as “a beloved member of our youth group.”
“As Christian people, we truly believe that all people are made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26). This means that all people are intrinsically valuable to Him. All human life should therefore be protected and valued – without exception. This is a foundational teaching of the Christian faith, which is why it is there in the very first chapter of the Bible.”
“All human life should therefore be protected and valued – without exception.” – Rev. Matt Paterson, Living Water Church
Rev Paterson’s Living Water program helps to combat racialised inequality through loving and practical assistance in Christ. Embedded within the community, the ministry has long-term relationships with disadvantaged Indigenous people to provide care and services, not only during this time of crisis, but ongoing.
Living Water is just one example of partnerships through Anglican Aid that support the Indigenous community. In Glebe, the Scarred Tree project provides resources for parenting and school participation, financial counselling, and advocacy. In south-west Sydney, the Macarthur Indigenous Reconciliation and Restoration Ministry runs a chaplaincy program for Dharawal men, crisis support, and cultural education. In Tamworth, Anglican Aid is involved in training Indigenous men for leadership in the Anglican Church.
Anglican Aid CEO Tim Swan urges Christians, “If you want to take action to support better outcomes for Indigenous Australians, there is no better action than to get alongside Christian partnerships with the Indigenous community like the ministry of Living Water.”
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