• Stuart McMillan. (YouTube)Source: YouTube
Australia won’t become mature and unified until we honour Indigenous people as sovereign, says Uniting Church president Stuart McMillan.
Hannah Hollis

28 Mar 2016 - 4:55 PM  UPDATED 28 Mar 2016 - 4:55 PM

As Easter celebrations draw to a close, Uniting Church of Australia president Stuart McMillan is encouraging the government to “engage with Indigenous leaders” and have a “serious national conversation” about Indigenous sovereignty.

“Sovereignty and what that means for us as a Church is an issue we’re committed to exploring,” he said in his 2016 Easter message video.

“I don’t believe that we can ever close the gap [of inequality between Indigenous and other Australians] until we honour First Peoples as sovereign and negotiate treaties on just terms.”

Mr McMillan told NITV News he encouraged all Christians to discover a “generosity of spirit” for the year ahead.

“We’re not going to deal with the problems that we face as a nation if we only think in economic rational terms,” he says.

“There’s something about a generous heart that just builds harmony and community and builds a life that is healthy and whole.”

Reverend Denise Champion, the first Aboriginal woman to be ordained as a minister in South Australia, says present-day Australia can foster community from the stories of her ancestors about “hope, of learning to live in peace with one another and learning to live in our environment”.

“These stories gave us courage as we journey through this life and hope for the next,” Adnyamathanha woman Rev Champion contributed to the Easter message video.