Salvation Army delivers Reconciliation Action Plan
3 December 2020
The Salvation Army has unveiled its first national Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), during an Australia-wide web-launch.
The Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) has been a year in the making, building on learnings from information gathered in approximately 100 yarning circles that involved Salvation Army employees, volunteers, officers (pastors) and church members. It has been guided by The Salvation Army’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ministry team and signed off by Reconciliation Australia, as well as The Salvation Army board.
The RAP is a framework and living document to guide The Salvation Army’s engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and our reconciliation initiatives.
Uncle Vince Ross, The Salvation Army’s National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Council Convenor, said the RAP should be a document that inspires action: “Documents have a place, but unless we can get the relationship on a strong footing, those words mean little.
“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a strong sense of relationships and of coming together. Reconciliation is not something that one person decides to do, it is done with others; it is a continuous journey that requires commitment and effort by all parties.”
A journey of reconciliation
The plan outlines several actions The Salvation Army commits to taking. They articulate timelines, activities and responsible personnel. All actions, of which there are more than 20, fall into the categories of:
Some of the significant ones centre on the areas of truth telling; social justice and advocacy; cultural immersion experiences; returning of artefacts; and Christmas Cheer.
The cultural immersion experience aims to increase cultural awareness and help non-Indigenous Salvation Army personnel to effectively minister to and walk alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The action of truth-telling is lived out through the hosting of regular yarning circles.
Another action works to increase opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and career development in The Salvation Army.
The Salvation Army has committed to ensuring its personnel across Australia have the cultural capacity to create safe spaces for Indigenous peoples, and for reconciliation to be a continuous journey.
Leader of The Salvation Army Australia, Commissioner Robert Donaldson, encouraged all leaders to “reach out to local Indigenous communities to open pathways for dialogue. Each of us has a part to play in this important process of reconciliation.
“Together we seek God’s direction and blessing as we move forward in reconciliation, relationship building and engagement.”