Acknowledgement of First Nations Statement
4 Oct 2022
From Pastor Bill Vasilakis, CRC Churches International, Australian Chairman.
On the first night of our LOVE PEOPLE National CRC Conference, I made a statement - Acknowledging Our First Australians.
This acknowledgement statement is not like a traditional welcome or acknowledgement of country. It is totally gospel centred and while acknowledging injustices in our nation’s past, it emphasises our shared collective hope for our future in Christ.
As a Christian leader representing one of Australia’s major Pentecostal denominations, it needed to be gospel focussed, grace pervading and Christ glorifying. It is a strong appeal for understanding, respect, reconciliation and peace between Aboriginal Australians and our non-Indigenous peoples from every corner of the world who have made Australia home.
The statement is not about political correctness but rather about honour, respect and truth.
I believe this is an important step for our movement and not a token gesture as some secular statements can seem. This is a small, but important way to express love and respect for our Aboriginal neighbours.
The CRC now has six churches and outreaches in central and northern Australia that are predominantly Aboriginal congregations, as well as first Australians in many of our churches across our land.
This Acknowledgement is a wise and good move for our movement as it is uniting rather than divisive. Paul in Romans 13:7 encouraged Christians to honour authority, but also to give ‘respect to whom it is due, honour to whom it is due’.
Christ is always reaching out to the marginalised and those who are overlooked with love and seeks to reconcile rather than divide. As our Conference in 2022 is built on Jesus’ Great Commandment about ‘loving your neighbour as yourself’, I think it’s so appropriate to express our love for our Aboriginal neighbours.
Its my prayer that as we unpack the second half of Jesus’ Great Commandment, throughout our LOVE PEOPLE conference, the Holy Spirit will do a mighty work in all our hearts to be able to better love our neighbours.
In His Service
Pastor Bill Vasilakis
Acknowledgement of our First Australians
By Pastor Bill Vasilakis
National Chairman-CRC Churches International
Tuesday night 4th October 2022.
As we gather together under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and in the presence of God for our CRC Churches International Conference, I acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land upon which we meet.
In His wisdom and love, our heavenly Father gave the magnificent plains of Adelaide to the Kaurna people to live on and to care for, and they excelled in their stewardship.
Upon this land they met for generations until the coming of British settlers and countless migrants and refugees from across the world. I am the child of migrants from Greece. This story is repeated throughout this vast continent of Australia.
As we continue to learn to live together on these ancient lands, we acknowledge and pay our respects to the past and present leaders of the Aboriginal communities of Australia.
As a Christian denomination, we ask our truth telling and grace giving God to help our nation face up to the injustices our Aboriginal peoples endured in the past, and many still do in the present.
Our prayer is that the healing, forgiving and reconciling Spirit of God will unite us all in the knowledge of his Son Jesus Christ—in whom all things were created, in heaven and on earth, whether visible or invisible — for all things have been created through Him and for Him.
We affirm that Jesus died on a cross to save us all and He rose from the grave to bring peace to our world by breaking down the dividing walls of hostility between people.
Our risen Saviour brings the Good News of His supernatural restorative peace to those far away from him, so that all people can come to the Father through the Holy Spirit, because of what Jesus Christ has done for us.