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Time to throw down our spears

Time to throw down our spears

Time to throw down our spears

28 May 2020

Relationships are key to reconciliation, says Lucy Davis.

By Lucy Davis

In 2015, The Salvation Army made a bold move to join the journey of reconciliation and develop a Reconciliation Action Plan, also known as a RAP.

A RAP is a formal statement of commitment to reconciliation. The hope is that organisations will journey through the four stages of the reconciliation framework: reflect, innovate, stretch and elevate.

We have completed the first stage – ‘Reflect’ – which involved building cultural capability throughout The Salvation Army. A key learning was recognising that First Nations people sometimes had a fear of faith-based organisations due to past failed government practices.

Another key step was demonstrating respect through developing our understanding and deepening our relationships, achieved by acknowledging and celebrating NAIDOC and National Reconciliation weeks. Salvation Army Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ministries have developed resources, materials and activities that can be accessed through mysalvos.org.au/toolkit for all corps and social programs to use during these weeks.

As the ‘Reflect’ stage of the RAP comes to an end, a new journey now begins – the ‘Innovate’ stage – developing and piloting creative strategies to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Embedding ‘cultural competency’ into the Army included officer training cadets experiencing a week of cultural activities towards whitefellas when our stories have been silenced? That day changed me forever. The Holy Spirit has given me the greatest gift of all and that is to start again, and the beginning for all of us is ‘truth telling’.

Through my time with The Salvation Army I have learnt a lot. I have had to throw down my spears and accept the things I could not change and turn that into grace. I ask you all to throw down your spears with me and listen to the yarns around our reconciliation journey. Relationships are key to this and we cannot reconcile if we are not in this together.

Lucy Davis is the RAP Coordinator for The Salvation Army.

Comments

  1. Saw you on the Drum last night.
    My wife and I members of Antarctica.
    An aboriginal taught me to shear sheep in mid sixties, my wife's father volunteered as a dentist on Elcho Island early 70s. We spent 1993 in Darwin on a teacher exchange.
    A good point on the Drum was many fellow Australians have had no contact with our first people's, consequently the have very entrenched negative views.
    Short school exchange may be an answer, when returning from Darwin I became heavily involved in a Japanese exchange program of 2 to 3 weeks. Highly successful and still running today. It changed many attitudes toward the Japanese in Leongatha.
    Unfortunately I am now retired.
    Enjoyed your contribution last night, keep up the good work

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