12th Assembly 2009

Confidence in Congress kids

“Where there is hope, we can create dreams. And now there is this hope.”

Chairperson of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Congress Ken Sumner shared his encouragement at the enthusiasm of young Indigenous people for their culture and their faith.

“We are now trying to create a place in the church where our kids belong, where they can call it their own. It’s their place.”

Mr Sumner was reporting on Congress to the 12th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia in Sydney on Thursday evening.

He opened the report by acknowledging the traditional owners of the country and invited Assembly members to reflect silently on the struggle of Indigenous people.

He then reported that Congress’ recent annual conference in Perth “was a wonderful time, a very different time, very different”.

“It was a time of great fellowship as we allowed the God’s spirit to move among us,” he said. “But the one great thing that gives us hope for the future is our young people.

“We had several young people who presented their understanding of Nehemiah rebuilding the city of Jerusalem. The kids were fantastic.

“So there is this hope, there within Congress. It was one of the best conferences I have been to in a number of years.

“Where Aboriginal people are growing up in a system that doesn’t recognise you, it’s very hard to dream,” he said. “We want to create the opportunity for our young ones to dream.”

Mr Stanley then challenged the Assembly members to support the Indigenous young people’s aspirations.

“It has to be your vision too,” he urged. “Scripture tells us where there is no vision, the people perish.

“We have a wonderful church,” he concluded. “But we can become a great church.”

The 12th triennial Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia is meeting at the University of New South Wales from July 15 to 21.


View the Congress photo gallery here http://assembly2009.uca.org.au/resources/photo-galleries/94-congressreport