When the Rev Michael Duckett, the leader of the Macarthur Indigenous Church, heard that the NAIDOC week theme this week was “Keep the Fire Burning! Blak, Loud and Proud”, he immediately thought of the Apostle Paul.

Mr Duckett, a Dunghutti man from the NSW North Coast, also chairs the Sydney Anglican Indigenous Peoples Ministry Committee. He uses painting to explain gospel themes and each year produces a painting for NAIDOC Week – which this year runs from July 7-14.

“When I heard the NAIDOC theme, I thought of a passage the Lord put on my heart in 2 Timothy, chapter 1,” Mr Duckett says in a video to churches. “It's where you see the Apostle Paul writing a letter to a young church leader, Timothy, a preacher. And he begins by thanking God, as his ancestors did.

“He goes on to say to Timothy, I'm reminded of your sincere faith, that I saw first in your grandmother and your mother, and now lives in you also [v5]. Then he goes on to say, ‘I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God’ [v6]. 

“I love the picture of fanning into flame and so, me and some of the people from our church got together to do this painting.”

Keep the fire burning from Sydneyanglicans.net on Vimeo.

Mr Duckett goes on to explain the aspects of the artwork, including the palm prints of his wife and son, and church elder Aunty Verna.

“Together, we fan the flame, the goodness of God, the gift of God, the love of God to all our people,” he says. “So keep the fire burning. Our old people recognise the fire connection to the land – to country.

“When I think of God, it reminds us of his Spirit moving throughout the land, and that we're connected to God through faith.

“So this NAIDOC Week, have a blessed time. Fan the flame in your church, in your community – the gift of God, the message of the good news of Jesus Christ to all people.”