This page provides information for delegates about the proposed Reconciliation Action Plan (Book of Reports Agenda 2.2.8).
A small team appointed by the Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) 50.500 initiative has developed a proposal for the General Church Council to take to Synod in October 2018.
This proposal is asking Synod to:
- Support the development of a RAP
- Resource the development
- Report back to Synod when it next meets in 2021 with particular reference to the implementation of the plan
2 Corinthians 5:16–20: 'Reconciliation is at the heart of the Christian faith. It is a gift of God in which we are invited and privileged to participate'.
The Lutheran Church has a long history of working with First Nations people. As an Australian mainstream Christian church, the LCA has demonstrated historical leadership in our relationships with First Nations people. We are seeking to build upon the stories of these relationships so that Lutheran Christians across Australia can be aware of them, give thanks for them and consider their own local settings. So our story thus far can grow.
Developing an LCA Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is an opportunity to grow. Like the baptised new life we live reconciled in Christ, each day is a new beginning and a new opportunity to grow in relationships with those around us.
A RAP will assist Australian Lutherans to live out our life reconciled in Christ together with others in our society. Reconciliation Australia believes that:
Reconciliation can no longer be seen as a single issue or agenda and the contemporary definition of reconciliation must weave threads together. To develop a framework to measure Australia’s progress towards reconciliation across these many areas, Reconciliation Australia undertook a review of reconciliation in Australia and internationally. As a result of this work, five critical dimensions that together represent a holistic and comprehensive picture of reconciliation were identified.*
The five dimensions identified are race relations, equality and equity, unity, institutional integrity and historical acceptance.
The Reconciliation Australia RAP methodology will equip the church to explore reconciliation within an evidence-based framework that embraces these five dimensions. Reconciliation Australia will help us to do this whilst recognising and honouring that we are a church. As such, the church’s approach to reconciliation will be recognised nationally among the majority of Australia’s First Nation peoples. Currently, there are 650 organisations with a RAP in Australia and 2.4 million Australians now working or studying in organisations with a RAP. Already there are schools of the LCA which have prepared a RAP for their context and community. Committing to a Reconciliation Australia endorsed RAP demonstrates the LCA’s commitment to listen to the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people Australia-wide. A RAP is a plan to help keep us, as God’s people, on track.
A RAP will enable the whole church – its members, congregations, agencies and employees to understand, value and respect the history, culture and contribution of our First Nations people.
As people of God equipped for his ministry, the church is called to participate in God’s reconciling work, calling people on behalf Christ to be reconciled with God (2 Corinthians 5:19) and one another.
The LCA is an organisation that participates in the lives of Australians. We always strive to ensure that our participation is respectful and dignified with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people wherever we are. A RAP will provide a mechanism for LCA members everywhere to learn and grow in understanding of such.
Therefore, the development of a RAP is for all of us:
- from the administrative arm of the LCA to the congregations in the smallest of towns
- from the services we provide to the people in Word and Sacrament ministry
- from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities we walk alongside to leaders of our church.
The development of a RAP is for the LCA, its congregations, its members, its workforce and the First Nations peoples our church connects with.
The LCA has actively sought to listen to a range of First Nations leaders across Australia. Our long history of ministry in a number of communities is an important part of this. We have also learned that we needed to take the time to listen and hear from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples in the first instance.
We have been on a journey to this point.
The overwhelming response so far has been that First Nations people and communities wish to be a strong part of the ministry of the Lutheran Church and would like to be involved in all areas including worship, ministry and mission and services.
We have not finished listening to people.
We have developed a proposal for the endorsement of Synod to commit to the development of a plan on how the LCA can put into action our ministry of reconciliation with our First Nations people.
We are seeking Synod’s support to endorse the proposal.
With the support provided, a RAP working group will be formed. This working group will have a range of members, but most importantly will include First Nations representation as members and in leadership. A Project Officer will be appointed to the working group to support them to craft the RAP.
We will work closely with Reconciliation Australia and this work will be overseen by the Bishop of the Church. It is essential that First Nations leadership and voice are heard and listened to throughout this project and beyond.
The LCA will launch the RAP and report back to the 2021 Synod.
There are many parts to this process but primarily three parts.
Part 1 (pre-2018 Synod)
A proposal will be provided to the 2018 General Convention of Synod seeking support.
Part 2 (post-2018 Synod)
Development of a RAP, including working with key stakeholders to develop practical actions to assist the LCA to seek this reconciled future with our First Nations people.
Some key stakeholders will include (but is not limited to):
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Lutherans
- Agencies and affiliated bodies (eg Finke River Mission, Lutheran Services etc)
- District representative
- Congregations (First Nations and non-First Nations)
- LCA leaders
- LCA Bishop and General Church Council.
Part 3 (pre-2021 Synod)
Implementation of the RAP and the practical actions, reporting back to 2021 General Convention of Synod on its progress and benefits.