Engaging with Aboriginal peoples: Challenging inequality in the rural Australian Anglican Church from a sociological, social work and theological perspective
Nearly two thirds of Indigenous Australians reside outside capital cities. Several Anglican Churches in
rural, regional and remote locations strive to engage with Aboriginal communities. A number of Aboriginal people
are active and vibrant members of the Anglican Communion, faithfully ministering and sharing the Christian
message. Two members of the Anglican Church, one Indigenous and one non-Indigenous, via a co-operative
inquiry, explored the question: how do the inquirers perceive the Anglican Church engages with Aboriginal
peoples in rural, regional and remote Australia? From a sociological lens this inquiry explored the impact of
ongoing colonisation on church praxis. It challenged the rural Anglican Church to be courageous and proactive in
role modelling for the world-wide church engagements with Aboriginal people that affirm Australian Indigenous
culture, pastors and leaders’ ministries. It outlined from a social work perspective the importance of advocating
for justice such as fair wages paid in full. From a theological lens the inquiry discussed equality and formation for
rural Anglican ministry. The discussion drew upon rural-themed Christian parables, in particular the parable of
the sower, as well as faith expressed in action. This inquiry argued for the building of just relationships that are
Christ-honouring, led by the Holy Spirit and person-loving. It upheld the reality that all Indigenous and non-
Indigenous peoples are equal image bearers of God and are to be respected and have inherent dignity.
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