2018 NATSICC Assembly. Perth 1-5 October.
2018 NATSICC Assembly Proceedings
"It was my first Assembly, and I was so impressed by the keynote speakers, the participation of all attendees and the inspiring youth among us."
"What an amazing Assembly, so many wise and inspiring people, especially in our up and coming youth!"
"WHAT AN AMAZING ASSEMBLY!!!
Congratulations – it was so good! The feedback from our 8 delegates was just so positive and appreciative of it all."
Australia’s First Peoples gathered in Perth from 1 - 5 October 2018 to explore the strong connections between faith, spirituality and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture.
Over 270 delegates attended the week-long gathering, located at Technology Park in the Perth suburb of Bentley. The proceedings took place amongst the towering gums and lawns of the venue.
NATSICC assemblies occupy an important space on the calendars of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics and this year we adopted the theme ‘Strong Faith. Strong Youth. Strong Future'.
The exploration of faith occurred throughout the week in designated “yarning circles”. Following each presentation and workshop, delegates joined yarning circles to develop ways to apply the learnings from the talks into their own ministries and communities. The theme was very much focused on 'doing' and not just 'talking'. Every speaker brought a unique aspect to proceedings. The traditional method of discussion facilitated authentic dialogue and resulted in the group developing a way forward for Australia’s First peoples in the Church.
A common theme is that Indigenous and non-Indigenous Catholics have to work together for the better of the Church as a whole.
The 2020 Plenary Council workshop, led by Plenary Council facilitator Lana Turvey-Collins, highlighted the commitment and yearning of Indigenous people to be included in the discussions. The voices of the delegation were strong and displayed the deep faith and commitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The number of attendees that made the trek west was larger than expected with young people, elders and seven bishops exploring the deep connection of faith and culture. People agreed to work together and the group as a whole has galvanised and offers their gifts of family, culture and spirituality to the Church of Australia.
One of the strong focuses for future work of the Church and community is to concentrate on the youth – they are the present and the future. The strength of our people and our youth was evident. We love our Church and we love our culture and the assembly was an opportunity to showcase both of those things.
Australia’s First peoples now constitute more than 130,000 of all Catholics in Australia, and numbers are increasing. Census data show that the growth of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholics in the Church was approximately 7 per cent in the five years to 2016.
2018 Assembly web-page archives (information on keynotes, concurrent workshops and program)
Experience the event all over again
The speakers featured at the Assembly provided delegates with inspiring and thought provoking presentation. Each enriched the event by sharing personal experience, points or view and guidance for moving forwards.
A short overview of the proceedings at the Assembly.
Fr Frank Brennan has been an advocate and a friend to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for many years. In this presentation, Fr Frank offers his own thoughts on the way forward for Australia on the issue of Constitutional recognition in the wake of the Uluru Statement. A transcript is available here.
Please note that an adjunct resource and alternate point of view from Fr. Frank has been subsequently provided by the Uluru Education Project 's Dean Parkin. It can be downloaded here.
NATSICC Youth Team
An inspiring presentation by the NATSICC Youth team- Sabrina-Ann Stevens, Kodi Brady and Cameron Balcombe. Touching on faith, social justice, service to the community and accepting who you are - this is the talk that inspired the delegation to commit to the future of young people in the church!
Mary O'Reeri is a strong Nyul Nyul woman from the Dampier Peninsula community of Beagle Bay. Her presentation focused on empowering young people and using culture and faith to strengthen the foundation of spirituality in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth.
Lana Turvey - Collins is the facilitator of the 2020 Plenary consultations. Lana travelled to Perth to present to the delegation and to host a series of workshops that included discussions in yarning circles and report back sessions. Here, Lana explains the 2020 Plenary process and the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices.
Yarning Circle outcomes
2020 Plenary discussions and recommendations
After each presentation, delegates were encouraged to form yarning circles to unpack what they have heard and to discuss ways in which the new knowledge can be applied in their own communities and ministries.
Not surprisingly, many responses echoed others and we have been able to compile and categorise the responses into headings. BELOW ARE THE VOICES OF OUR ELDERS, YOUTH, LEADERS AND COMMUNITIES. THEIR VISION WILL TAKE US FORWARD.
Cultural Awareness Training
WE NEED TO DO THE FOLLOWING FOR THE YOUTH: