An astonishingly gracious suggestion: ‘we were wrong’

Mark Wingfield, associate pastor at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, suggests seven areas where the church needs to say “we were wrong”. The Uniting Church in Australia has done a little of this, for example in the apology we made as part of the Covenant between the Assembly and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress in 1994, that said in part:

We lament that our people took your land from you as if it were land belonging to nobody, and often responded with great violence to the resistance of your people; our people took from you your means of livelihood, and desecrated many sacred places. Our justice system discriminated against you, and the high incarceration rate of your people and the number of Black deaths in custody show that the denial of justice continues today.

Your people were prevented from caring for this land as you believe God required of you, and our failure to care for the land appropriately has brought many problems for all of us.

We regret that our churches cooperated with governments in implementing racist and paternalistic policies. By providing foster-homes for Aboriginal children, our churches in reality lent their support to the government practice of taking children from their mothers and families, causing great suffering and loss of cultural identity. Our churches cooperated with governments in moving people away from their land and resettling them in other places without their agreement.

I apologise on behalf of the Assembly for all those wrongs done knowingly or unknowingly to your people by the Church, and seek your forgiveness. I ask you to help us discover ways to make amends.

In what other areas do we need to say “we were wrong”?

Source: 3 words for the church in 2019: ‘we were wrong’

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