Living in Communion Artist: Mary Southard. CSJ. Used with permission.

Anniversary of National Apology to Stolen Generations (13 February)

…There is new light. If only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it. Amanda Gordon, The Hill We Climb, read at the Inauguration of President Joe Biden (20 January 2021)

As we remember the brave moment in 2008 when our Prime Minister apologised to the Stolen Generations, we can ask ourselves two questions. How can we stand in truth and continue to pronounce that Australia is not systemically racist? Are we brave enough to stand with and bear witness to the historical and ongoing trauma suffered by Australia’s First Nations People?

I believe we are being challenged as a Congregation, as a Church and as a Country to ensure “Black Lives Matter” in all our actions, and go on a journey to de-colonise our perceptions, our prejudices, our systems and our whole Country.

We are being called as an Earth community to a deeper spirituality – to invoke the capacity of our human heart to hold tenderly the historical and current life experiences of First Nations People across the world. (

If we take this journey into the “new light” we will grow in our awareness of our conscious or unconscious complicity in white supremacy.

I am writing this reflection after hearing our Prime Minister describe “Australia Day as an important marker of Australia’s history” and “that the date should not be changed”, despite being seen as a day of mourning by many First Nations People. He explained his position with the words:

You know, when those 12 ships turned up in Sydney, all those years ago, it wasn’t a particularly flash day for the people on those vessels either.Scott Morrison, Prime Minister of Australia (January 2021)

This quote is a vivid example of how our whole nation has not heard and learnt from First Nations People. They have experienced and suffered abuse and neglect over generations. It is not a time now to be divisive and judgemental but it is a time for deep contemplative listening (Dadirri) and respectful conversations.

Let’s works together with First Nations People to heal the deep, raw and open wound that began for them on the 26 January 1788. Their sovereign country was invaded with the raising of the British flag in Botany Bay. The process of colonisation has been brutal. The trauma they have suffered has been unbearable for them and it is difficult for us to hear and respond to their stories. I pray we can all listen with mercy and compassion and own our history…

Read Kenise’s full article below:

There is New Light… We Need to Take a Path Not Chosen Before (PDF)

Kenise Neill rsj