National Assembly 2009: Brisbane - Holy Spirit in this land


The Bardon Conference Centre perched atop Brisbane’s Mt Coo-tha was the venue for NATSICC’s 2009 National Assembly. Entitled ‘Holy Spirit in This Land’, the event drew over 190 people to enjoy a time of sharing and workshopping the future of Indigenous people in the Catholic Church.


Every State and Territory was represented as was the Catholic Church with several Bishops, Priests, Sisters, Brothers and deacons sharing their time with us.


Human Rights Commissioner Tom Calma provided a key note address that highlighted the many issues facing Indigenous people in our society. A surprising point raised was the fact that Australia’s Indigenous population is now reaching a similar number to that pre settlement.


The Assembly provides an opportunity for people to come from every corner of Australia to discuss the way forward for Indigenous people. The many workshops held will provide the incoming NATSICC Council with direction and goals for their upcoming three year term. We welcomed Kerry O’Callaghan, Cameron Harris and Lisa Buxton to the council while sadly farewelling outgoing Chairperson Elsie Heiss.


Delegates enjoyed a day trip to either Cherbourg or Stradbroke Island. In each case, the local community welcomed us to their land and provided a wonderful learning experience.


The spirit was truly alive during the week of the Assembly. There were many opportunities for delegates to sit and talk to new friends or get re acquainted with old friends. The NATSICC Council was adamant that we not only needed to nurture the youth but also celebrate the work of those that have come before. ‘Celebrating the Spirit’ is a project launched at the Assembly that invited delegates to submit the names of Indigenous and non Indigenous people that have helped build ministry in the community. Many names were forwarded that evoked strong sharing of stories and informed the youth of the work that has been done. The names will be collated and published in an honour role. This will be a living document that will grow as time passes.


Over 30 youth were present at the Assembly – a wonderful turnout. Our young people experienced the history of Indigenous ministry, Queensland and Torres Strait Islander culture at Inala cultural centre and how liturgy works by preparing their own celebration. A trip to Dreamworld was included on the program and has drawn very positive reviews!


On the whole, the Assembly was an absolute success. The Council will use the information collected to begin planning the next three years of serving the community, the community has gone away energised and the youth have a new understanding of the Church in Australia.


NATSICC wishes to thank all who attended as well as the speakers, presenters and particularly the Brisbane community and Murri Ministry.


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National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Catholic Council

'The peak Indigenous advisory body to the Catholic Church'

80C Payneham Rd.

Stepney SA 5069   |   | 08 8363 2963