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News / 2013 / 10 / 15

Gathering focuses on Indigenous Christian leadership

15 October 2013

Gathering focuses on Indigenous Christian leadership

God, and working through faith to address the poverty and injustice in local communities was the focus of the recent Grasstree Gathering, a national non-denominational conference for emerging Indigenous Christian leaders.

The Grasstree Gathering took place at Riverglenn, just outside Brisbane, from 30 September to 4 October. Brooke Prentis, a Salvationist and emerging Aboriginal Christian leader who from the Waka Waka people from northeast Queensland and attends the Ipswich Corps, coordinated the event.

“The vision of the Grasstree Gathering is to celebrate, encourage, equip and inspire an emerging generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Christian leaders from across Australia,” says Brooke.

The vision for the Grasstree Gathering comes from Aunty Jean Phillips, a well-respected Aboriginal Christian leader.

Three other Salvation Army delegates were among those participating in the Grasstree Gathering: Shirli Congoo, Indigenous Engagement Officer based in Townsville; Chris Congoo, Mt Isa Recovery Services Manager; and Allen Minniecon, Indigenous Community Development Worker based in Cairns.

“Major Pamela Marshall, Territorial Cross Cultural and Indigenous Ministries Consultant from the Australia Southern Territory was also invited as a guest to listen and learn,” says Brooke.

Throughout the four-day conference, Indigenous leaders led Bible studies and workshops on topics including Biblical justice, advocacy, mission, and challenges for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The attendees and guests shared stories from communities and ministries. Some non-Indigenous leaders were also selected to lead specific workshops.

In keeping with the ecumenical flavour of the event, the evenings were spent at different churches in Brisbane.

“We were able to take the platform and share with the public of Brisbane through testimonies, stories from communities, Bible readings, worship music and culture,” says Brooke.

On the Tuesday evening, delegates attended a “Surrender Truth Lab” with guest speaker, Christian author and activist, Shane Claiborne, at the University of Queensland. The Surrender Truth Lab also involved many of the Grasstree Gathering delegates providing music, interviews and panel discussion.

“The speakers, the encouragement to get more involved, and the networking were all highlights of the conference for me,” says Shirli. “The networking will allow us to keep connected, to offer each other prayer and support and to move forward together in unity.

By Simone Worthing - see original article here

Pictured: Salvation Army Grasstree Gathering delegates, from left to right: Allen Minniecon, Brooke Prentis, Chris Congoo, Shirli Congoo and Major Pamela Marshall.

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