Presbyterian Church of Australia Bans Welcome to Country

The Presbyterian Church of Australia has banned its congregations from conducting the Welcome to Country in their worship services.

The General Assembly of Australia (GAA), which gathered in Sydney last week, deemed Acknowledgement of Country practices “inappropriate for public worship where the call to worship centres on God.” 

Moderator-General David Burke outlined the decision in a letter to Presbyterian congregations on Thursday, noting the wording of acknowledgments of country “almost invariably carries overtones of an Indigenous spirituality inconsistent with Christian belief.”

Burke added, “As Christians, we have to avoid wording that suggests final ownership of land is vested in people rather than with the Creator.

Mark Powell, pastor of Cornerstone Church Hobart, spoke with Sky News host Andrew Bolt on Wednesday where he expressed his individual thoughts on the ruling.

According to Powell, the problem with Acknowledgement of Country protocols is that they’re both “tokenistic” and “syncretistic”, and are, therefore, “fundamentally incompatible with Christian doctrine.”