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For several years Aunty Jean Phillips has been calling Christians to pray for justice, truth-telling, and healing at the #ChangetheHeart prayer services in the lead up to January 26th. This year Aunty Jean, with the support of Common Grace, made a #ChangetheHeart service video. The service was broadcast on ACCTV on the evening of 25th January. The theme was ‘tuning in together’. People throughout Australia watched at home and in COVID safe gatherings.

The service was led by Aboriginal Christian leaders from across Australia. Common Grace CEO Brooke Prentis and Aunty Jean gave poignant messages about justice, lament, reconciliation, and hope. Common Grace’s Aboriginal Spokesperson Bianca Manning, Australian Idol contestant Royston Sagigi-Baira and Pastor Helen Wright led powerful singing of old and new Gospel songs. The service included a sobering visual display of the injustices still faced by First Nations people and a call to respond by tuning in to these injustices, praying and acting for change.

A small gathering was held at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture to watch the service. It was very moving to watch the service together and to respond to the calls to kneel and stand in solidarity. Local musician Uncle Johnny Huckle featured in the video and also sang live for those gathered in person at the conclusion of the broadcast.

Common Grace has made the service available on their website. Even though it was specifically made for January 26 the content and the call to prayer that it contains are relevant every day of the year. It would be great if churches across the Diocese hosted viewings so that people could engage and discuss what it means to ‘Change the Heart’ both individually and collectively so that justice can flow and healing can occur.

‘Change the Heart Services were held around the Diocese. Bishop Mark Short and I (Monica Short) attended the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture event and were profoundly moved by the beautiful service. We are continually humbled and inspired by the Godliness and prayerfulness of our Indigenous brothers and sisters in Christ. Thanks Reverend Dr Katherine Rainger and Reverend Hazel Davies for organising this important event and thanks to the Centre for hosting it. We are already planning to attend next years event. Thanks, Uncle Johnny Huckle for your powerful words and music.’

The service can be found here: https://www.commongrace.org.au/ watch

by Reverend Dr Katherine Rainger and Reverend Hazel Davies

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