God saw everything that God had made, and indeed, it was very good. (Genesis 1:31)
Ngatanwarr! Sanctuary acknowledges the Peek Wurrung people of the Eastern Maar Nation, the traditional owners of the land where our building stands. It’s a land threaded with rivers and bounded by the sea. Kooyang (eels) migrate here every year and koontapool (southern right whales) calve in the bay in a relationship with cultural knowledge holders which has continued for millennia.
We acknowledge that Sanctuary regulars and friends worship, work and play both on these lands and those of diverse First Peoples; and that these many lands were taken by force, never ceded. We grieve over the violence that has been and continues to be visited upon First Peoples by our governments, our institutions, and our churches, and we repent of our complicity in this violence.
We pay our respects to elders past and present. We commit ourselves to a stance of openness and learning from them, as we work and pray for justice and right living in relationship with this land and its peoples. Sanctuary is committed to being a space where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is honoured, and where ATSI children, families and community members are welcomed and included.
As part of listening, learning and honouring culture, we acknowledge country at every event and worship service. We mark special days and weeks, and advertise local cultural awareness events. We pay attention to the land and seasons. We are planting locally Indigenous flora around the building, as are many of our church members at home. We have an ongoing stance of learning, and some of our reflections here on the website share what we have so far discovered, or grapple with what it means to be living on stolen land. You can find these reflections here. Wurruk (good-bye).