An invitation – to consider the future of the Uniting Church as a people of God on the way
As we look to the future, what is God saying to us as the Uniting Church about how we order our life so we can be committed to transforming lives and communities in God’s love? Be part of the UCA Act2 project as we discern God’s way together.
In the lead up to the 16th Assembly, members of the Uniting Church, its congregations, agencies, schools and Councils, are invited to engage in a conversation about the future to which God is calling our Church.
Throughout 2020, the Assembly Standing Committee (ASC) has participated in conversations about the future for the Uniting Church, and our responsibility to listen to God’s living Word. Just as those who collaborated to bring the Uniting Church to birth, we too are being called to look ahead with faithfulness and openness to confess Jesus Christ, the risen crucified One, in fresh words and deeds, including new, innovative and culturally engaged ways of being the Church.
The Uniting Church has been on a journey since it began 43 years ago. Things have changed, in our Church, in our country and in the world. Whilst Christians make up a smaller proportion of Australian society, Australian Christians are more culturally and theologically diverse than they were at the time of union. Society’s attitudes towards Christianity have become more complex and less predictable. It’s time to check the health of our Church and ask, ‘where is God leading us, what is God calling us to do in this new context and how do we order our lives to best fulfil that calling?’
As the Uniting Church, we belong to the people of God on the way. With the whole church, we are called to be an instrument through which Christ bears witness to himself. We believe we are called to pray for the gift of the Spirit as we enter into a time of self-examination of our life, heeding the invitation of the Basis of Union to consider afresh the ordering of our lives so that we can live out our common commitment to the Church’s mission and to demonstrate our unity.
As we do this, we are guided by the vision of the Basis of Union as we embody the rich and diverse expressions of our Church.
Strengths and Challenges
The Uniting Church at its best has many diverse expressions of who it is as a church. As the ASC reflected on this it identified the centrality of Christ, connectedness to the world - particularly local communities, the diversity of our people and our justice orientations as clear markers of our identity. Along with the Basis of Union we have a rich collection of resources to guide and shape our life. These include both those documents that shaped the journey to Union,1 along with statements such as the Statement to the Nation (1977), the Covenant Statement (1994), The Uniting Church is a Multicultural Church (1985), and the revised Preamble to the Constitution (2009) which have continued to shape and define our life.
At our best we have participated in the reconciling work of Christ and been able to harness our inclusivity and diversity to be a risk-taking, flexible and adaptable Church, open to renewal in our life. However, the ASC also reflected on some of the challenges we are facing as a Church.
1 The Faith of the Church (1959), The Church: Its Nature, Function and Ordering (1963)