NAIDOC (National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee) Week was celebrated last week from July 4-10. The week is an observance of Aboriginal culture and successes and is celebrated by many events in places where there is Indigenous heritage.
One such place of Indigenous heritage is the land of the Darumbal people, Rockhampton. That is where three of us from Brisbane took the Prayer Tent ministry to, for the first historical time a Christian parachurch ministry has been at the Rockhampton NAIDOC celebrations.
NAIDOC week has a Christian heritage, and we were glad to honour that heritage. It began from a letter written by William Cooper aimed at Aboriginal communities and at churches. In 1937 from Yarraville, Cooper implored the Christian community to observe Sunday, 3rd January as ABORIGINES' DAY.
The observance was marked by one central request of white churches: "that sermons be preached on this day dealing with the aboriginal people and their need of the gospel and response to it and we ask that special prayer be invoked for all missionary and other effort for the uplift of the dark people."
In 1957, the leaders of the movement decided to change the date from January to July.
The three of us; Gaylene Ngalu, Aileen Sandy and I fielded prayer requests such as blessing the land, praying over babies, and whole families praying for unity together. It was about blessing the Aboriginal and Islander people through God's touch and love for them.
That was exactly what William Cooper would have wanted for the celebration of NAIDOC, which has largely become a secular celebration since it has been divorced from its original Christian origin.
The Prayer Tent ministry was given to Gaylene Ngalu in 2012 and the ministry has been to NAIDOC before in Brisbane, but this is a first for Rockhampton.
Gaylene Ngalu hopes that in the future more people will take up the mantle to bring prayer and Christian ministries into events such as NAIDOC. The need is there to reclaim Australia for God and His glory, and bring God's light to various events occurring in the secular sphere.
Bridget Brenton sometimes shares things on www.101arguments.com.
Bridget Brenton's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/bridget-brenton.html