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Wednesday, 30 March 2005

Death of inaugural Uniting Church President

The inaugural President of the Uniting Church in Australia Rev Davis McCaughey died on March 26 at the age of 90.

Dr McCaughey, who was also Victorian Governor from 1986 to 1992, died at his North Melbourne home with his wife Jean and his family by his side. A service of Worship celebrating the life of Dr McCaughey will be held at St Michael’s Uniting Church Melbourne, at 2.30pm on Thursday, March 31.

Dr McCaughey was a theologian, master of Ormond College at the University of Melbourne, and inaugural president of the Uniting Church in Australia.

Born in Belfast, Northern Ireland on July 12, 1914, John Davis McCaughey came to Australia in 1953 to be Professor of New Testament Studies for the Theological Hall at Ormond College.

Dr McCaughey was a key architect in bringing together the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational churches to form the Uniting Church in Australia and and was president of the first Assembly of the Uniting Church in 1977 to 1979.

He was the primary author behind the Basis of Union, the foundational theological document that led to the formation of the new denomination.

Uniting Church President, Rev Dr Deam Drayton, said Davis McCaughey has had a lasting influence on the shape of spiritual and social consciousness in Australia.

“He provided much of the vision, wisdom and intellectual strength behind the union of the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregational churches.

“We see his graceful and intellectual touch on the Basis of Union, the foundational document of the Uniting Church. His insight and commitment was in response to the real movement of the Holy Spirit to bring the Uniting Church into being.

“Dr McCaughey also served the people of Victoria with compassion and distinction as Governor of Victoria.

“His commitment to education and learning was also profound.

“He served as Master of Ormond College for twenty years, was Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Melbourne, sat on the Faith and Order Commission of the World Council of Churches and was responsible for the theological formation of many hundreds of Ministers in Victoria and Tasmania.

“We give thanks to God for a man of great insight, wisdom and gentle spirit. I extend the whole of the Uniting Church’s condolences to Jean and all the McCaughey family.”

Dr McCaughey is survived by his wife of 64 years, Jean, and by five children - including former National Gallery of Victoria director Patrick McCaughey - 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

A service of Worship celebrating the life of Dr McCaughey will be held at St Michael’s Uniting Church Melbounre, at 2.30pn on Thursday, March 31. The McCaughey family has respectfully requested no flowers and asked that donations be made to Uniting Church Overseas Aid for its project to develop a secondary school in Leos, East Timor.