As a result it is no longer possible for the UCA’s Mapoon Appeal to fulfil its purpose.
The Mapoon Appeal was an initiative of the 14th Assembly in 2015.
The 14th Assembly commitment was to help build a new church in the former Presbyterian mission where local Aboriginal people were forcibly removed between 1963 and 1964.
In 1990 former Uniting Church President Sir Ronald Wilson apologised to the Mapoon community for our predecessor church’s failure to do more to stop such a human rights abuse.
At the time of residents’ removal, the church in Mapoon was demolished, so the Assembly’s hope was that building a new church would be an act of restitution.
The Appeal was operated by the Assembly in conjunction with the Queensland Synod.
All funds donated by the Assembly and Synods to build a church have now been returned.
The majority of other funds donated by individuals to the Mapoon Appeal over a number of years have been identified, and donors will be offered refunds.
The July meeting of the Assembly Standing Committee will consider options for donors who would like to repurpose their donations. Where a donor can’t be identified, the funds will be applied to ministry in Mapoon.
While the hope to build a new Church hasn’t come to pass, President Dr Deidre Palmer said the Uniting Church gives thanks for the continuing ministry at Mapoon, through the leadership of the Mapoon Community Council. The Uniting Church is continuing its commitment to ministry in Mapoon through Rev Craig Mischewski, the Minister in placement with Carpentaria Presbytery in Weipa.
“We pray God’s blessings of grace and hope for Craig and the Mapoon community’s life and ministry,” said Dr Palmer.