My dear friends, brothers, sisters,
I greet you here from Washington on the last day of our conference. We’ve now concluded our deliberations and have just had a final meal to share together, tonight. I have been so impressed with so many similarities in the stories and experiences that we have shared. The four countries involved have all been colonized from Britain and have all had First Nations people living in them for many, many years.
There have been many similar experiences among our First Nations People, in terms of displacement, broken promises, lack of consultation, transgenerational trauma, issues involving housing, health, life expectancy, dependency on chemicals and alcohol, the tension between the younger and older generations, and a high rate of incarceration. Many of the young people are experiencing a real challenge as to identity.
It hasn’t all been gloom and doom, of course, but there are challenges that we had to name. The truth sets us free. So, we have decided we need to continue learning from each other and sharing ideas and working together, in the interest of hope and moving forward together. So, we are working out details, maybe will meet every two years and stay in contact with Zoom in between. I’m so glad I came. I met with my brother Bishops, and we shared experiences together. Our people met together without the Bishops. And then we met together as Bishops and people. It’s been a great time of sharing respect and learning.
So we keep what’s happened in our prayers. So true, it will bear fruit, and especially for us in Australia, as we continue reflecting together on many issues involving the lives of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Thank you, for your prayers. And God bless you all.