Australians who want to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people ahead of Australia Day next week are being encouraged to take part in this year’s annual ‘Change the Heart’ prayer service.
Christian organisation Common Grace says ‘Change The Heart‘ is a time to listen, learn and pray for a nation built on truth, justice, love and hope on the evening before the traditional national Australia Day holiday celebrations on 26th January.
Senior Aboriginal Christian Leader Aunty Jean Phillips speaks at an event. PICTURE: Biz Adams.
The services, which are broadcast on national television through ACCTV and Christian radio, “are a rallying way non-Indigenous peoples participate in National Truth-Telling, to lament the injustices and present-day disadvantages facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to pray for healing and Reconciliation in our nation”, the organisation says.
Brooke Prentis, CEO of Common Grace and an Aboriginal Christian Leader, says 26th January is a difficult time for many people across Australia.
“Many Aboriginal peoples are mourning, commemorating survival, acknowledging invasion, or just hurting from present day injustices,” Prentis said.
“Through Change The Heart, we create the space for listening, learning, and loving. It is a unique opportunity to be led by Aboriginal Christian Leaders, to seek justice for the past and present, and to lead the nation in prayer for love to win over hate.”
She said “listening, learning and loving” is the call of Change The Heart, and equipping non-Indigenous Australians to spark conversations, build relationships and take action.
This year’s broadcast will hear from Aunty Jean Phillips, who has served in Christian ministry across Australia for more than 60 years, as she reflects on the last 10 years of the movement.
Aunty Jean Phillips has previously repeatedly said that it was “important that we as Christians come together and look at our history, but also to see how we can journey together and bring God’s true healing and reconciliation into this nation”.
Prentis says the message is “just turn up”.
“You don’t know what you’re going to be a part of, but it will be amazing!”
“We have extended that invitation; we need people to share that invitation” with friends, family and church communities.
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Seven people attended the original gathering around 2012. Prentis then helped turn it into a national event in 2017 when there were 12 services across Australia, attended by about 1,000 people. Last year, there were 30,000 people and this year, Prentis is hoping 50,000 tune in to support the movement.
“It is through the support of Common Grace that Change The Heart has been able to go where it now is as a national call to prayer, and to support the leadership of Aunty Jean.”
Official invitations have also been sent to all federal MPs and senators, many state and territory representatives, as well as local government representatives. Some Christian schools also are involved, she said. Anyone registering through Common Grace will have access to a special service programme.
Change The Heart is broadcast on television through ACCTV, online through Common Grace and ACCTV, and on radio on Tuesday 25th January, 7:30pm AEDT (and relevant local times across Australia).
Full details on #ChangeTheHeart 2022 can be found here: www.commongrace.org.au/change_the_heart.