There are times when we are faced with a choice that can’t and must not be avoided. GMP is in such a situation. To make this important decision we reflected on our values and on how we can rely on the grace and goodness of God, and we decided to focus our attention on others and not on ourselves.
Let me give the background. About five years ago GMP launched Indigenous Ministries Australia (IMA) and we did so based on income from investing the assets of the former Australian Churches of Christ Indigenous Ministries (ACCIM). This new initiative flowed from the closure of ACCIM and the decision by the ACCIM Board to trust GMP with a group of Indigenous leaders to plan a new journey in this important area of ministry. IMA is a gift to GMP and we have learned much from our Indigenous sisters and brothers.
Part of the history of ACCIM included the care of children in residential settings. The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has indicated that a small number of these children have described the experience of being abused while in care, and there may be more. One of the recommendations of the report of the Royal Commission is that institutions cooperate with the Government in offering support, counseling, an apology and redress in recognition of the abuse having happened. It is hoped that this process will assist in the process of healing.
GMP was faced with a choice. What should we do? We can attempt to protect the assets we received from ACCIM and not enter into the National Redress Scheme or we can decide to begin the process to opt in.
If we decided not to take part, we would be avoiding responsibility for what happened to some children. Staying out might protect assets. However we would not be part of a healing process.
To enter into the Redress Scheme means financial and organisational preparation for responding to abuse survivors, and accepting the risk that the claims for redress might have an impact on the assets that make much of the ministry of IMA possible.
Our decision became clear. Our commitment is to build a future on good and strong foundations rather than building it on the pain and suffering of others. We want to be part of a healing and restoring process. So GMP will begin the process to opt in to the National Redress Scheme. We will do so trusting in God’s grace and healing for the lives of the hurt and harmed.
Join us in prayer for the healing of hurts, the coming of justice and a future in this important ministry guided by God’s goodness and grace.
John Gilmore, Executive Officer