The Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia has declared the Sunday before Australia Day, 20 January, as a Day of Mourning at the request of its sisters and brothers in the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC). 

 Dr Deidre Palmer, President of the Uniting Church in Australia, said Congregations have been encouraged to reflect on the effect of invasion and colonisation on Australia’s First Peoples and our identity as a nation.

“The declaration of a Day of Mourning allows us to stand together in remembering the truth of our history and honouring the culture of Australia’s First Peoples, their families and the next generations,” Dr Palmer said.

“Remembering our history is an important part of our journey toward reconciliation as First and Second Peoples. The service reminds us of the dispossession and violence against First Peoples, and laments that as a Church and as Second Peoples we were and remain complicit.

“We acknowledged this in our Church when we apologised to the Stolen Generations in 1997. We acknowledged this by revising the Preamble to our Constitution, which was approved by the Ninth Assembly in 2009.

“We acknowledged this in affirming First Peoples as the sovereign peoples of this land.

“Our declaration of a Day of Mourning allows us to stand together in remembering the truth of our history, and honouring the culture of Australia’s First Peoples, their families and the next generations,” Dr Palmer added.

 For more information about the Day of Mourning, click here.