8 December 2023

Country church papers walls with Statement from the Heart

St George’s Trentham hopes to help voters be informed about the upcoming referendum. Picture: supplied

26 September 2023

A word-art installation of the Statement from the Heart now circles the walls of St George’s Trentham.

Its aim is to encourage people to be informed of what voters are being asked in the upcoming referendum on the Voice to Parliament.

Put up by the Trentham community, Bishop of Bendigo Matt Brain dedicated the installation on Sunday 24 September.

“Jesus calls us to open our hearts to receive from and share with everyone,” Bishop Brain said. “I am delighted to bless this local initiative, which places the Uluru Statement in a space set aside for reflection and inspiration.

Read more: A ‘Yes’ begins our journey of healing

“The Statement from the Heart is a generous invitation from this land’s ancient peoples for more recent newcomers, ‘To walk with us in a movement of the Australian people for a better future.’ I pray that our hearts are open to respond.”

Trentham is a small town at the Victorian end of the Great Dividing Range.

St George’s locum minister the Reverend Dr Charles Sherlock AM said a parishioner had suggested placing the statement around the church walls, so anyone could come in and engage with it in a safe space.

St George’s Trentham has papered its walls with the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Picture: supplied

“This referendum is very significant for our nation,” he said. “God calls us to live on the basis of truth. Yet much debate seems unaware of where the Voice proposal comes from – the Statement from the Heart.”

Measuring the space available, planning how to fit the words in, then printing, cutting and pasting them up took some thinking. Finding a font large enough to make the word readable on A4 sheets saw Binner Gothic at 256 point do the trick!

Read more: Voice a matter of justice, reconciliation: Christian leaders

“The practicalities were not only fun, they made us look at the statement closely,” Dr Sherlock said.

“It is challenging and deeply thoughtful, and also a beautiful piece of English. That a large group managed to get it together on one page is amazing!

“We look forward to locals taking the opportunity to visit St George’s to engage with the statement. We not telling people how to vote, but want everyone to be informed of what is being asked of us in the vote.”

During the day in St George’s, the Statement is read aloud by a variety of recorded Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices.

St George’s is at 58 High Street, Trentham. It is open daily, except from 3pm Saturday to 10.30am Sunday.

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