Indigenous link honoured

Jenny Byrnes next to one of the new Aboriginal names at the Centre for Theology and Mission.

By Andrew Humphries

The focus has been on indigenous issues at the Centre for Theology and Ministry this week, with three important events happening in the space of 24 hours.

Earlier today, a special ceremony was held to mark the renaming of rooms and spaces at CTM, including the main teaching rooms and the Wyselaskie Auditorium.

The ceremony provides the opportunity to acknowledge in a permanent way the location of CTM on Wurundjeri land.

The new Aboriginal name for each room or space is displayed on artwork designed by indigenous artist Grace Williams, from Tasmania.

Equipping Leadership for Mission executive officer Jenny Byrnes said CTM and eLM staff have committed to increasing the depth of their expression of the Covenant and walking together as first and second peoples.

“As one continuing step in that journey, the spaces within CTM have been renamed to acknowledge the original custodians of the land on which CTM and the earlier theological college was built,” Jenny said.

“Working with elders from the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, nine spaces within the CTM have been renamed.

“Most significantly, the name Wyselaskie has been replaced within the facility.

“John Wyselaskie, a western district pastoralist, came by his wealth at the expense and cost of the local indigenous tribe, the Guareeb Guareeb people.

“The story of Wyselaskie will be narrated on a poster within the auditorium.”

The renaming ceremony was followed by a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony to mark the beginning of the academic year at Pilgrim Theological College.

Meanwhile, indigenous theology was celebrated last night when Dr Anne Pattel-Gray presented the first Northey Lecture for 2022 at CTM.

Anne has spent the past two decades decolonising biblical narratives and constructing a theology that draws on Australian First Nations creation stories.

Below are the details of the renaming of CTM rooms and the meaning of their Aboriginal name:

SPACE                                   NEW NAME                        MEANING

Gallery                                  Buwi                                    Create

Student Lounge                   Djerring                              Together

G2 & G3                                Yagilaith & Ngarrgu         Learning & knowledge

G4                                          Wirraway                           Challenge

Wyselaskie Auditorium     Yuma                                   Sharing

Chapel                                  Ngarrnga                            Reflection/thought

Foyer 2                                 Bagung                               Gathering

G1                                         Yaarkon                              Search

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