Three years on from the 12th Assembly’s approval of the revised preamble to the Uniting Church in Australia’s Constitution to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the First People, the 13th Assembly agreed to establish a working party to evaluate progress in the covenanting relationship.
In moving the proposal, Denise Chapman said it is important that the covenanting relationship is deeper than just words on paper.
"This agreement needs to have an impact on the actions of the Councils of the Church to implement the Covenant and build partnership relationships with the UAICC in its ministry and mission among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are striving for equal outcomes with non-Aboriginal Australians,’’ she said.
"There is a wealth of evidence that Aboriginal people in Australia are amongst the poorest and most marginalised people and governments have committed themselves to closing the poverty, health and education gaps,’’ she said.
"The Uniting Church has also committed itself to close these gaps."
"This proposal … would provide concrete evidence that the Church is acting on that commitment and on its Covenant with the UAICC.’’
Dean Whitaker, who seconded the proposal, said the way Covenanting happened between the two bodies was not replicated by any other mainstream church in Australia, and of that he was particularly proud.
The proposal was passed by agreement.