Friday, 18 January 2019

On a journey of transformation

Written by Rebecca Beisler

More than 120 young adults from across the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) are together in the Adelaide Hills on a journey of deepening their faith and exploring their gifts as leaders.

The culturally diverse group of young adults have come from all over the country for the National Young Adult Leaders Conference (NYALC) under the theme LEAD – Live. Embrace. Act. Disciple.

In welcoming the young adults, UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer encouraged the delegates to use the four-day conference to reflect on their own lives and on the journey of the Uniting Church, in which they play a significant part.

“People all over Australia are praying for you as young adult leaders, giving thanks for your leadership, and are hopeful about what may emerge,” said Dr Palmer.

“This is not a once-off event. We will continue to be followers of Jesus, who are seeking to grow in faith, deepen our relationship with God and participate in God’s mission. We will be part of the renewal of our Church.”

Reflecting on Road to Emmaus story (Luke 24:13-35), Dr Palmer said following Jesus was often daunting with many twists and turns - but it was also transformational.

“To follow Jesus is the most exhilarating adventure possible! To know the deep love and forgiveness of God – God’s grace, surrounding you, upholding you, for your lifetime, to see the world through the eyes of God’s reconciling love and hope – is the best journey of all.”

“As people of the Uniting Church, we experience the Spirit of Christ bringing us together and calling us forward.

“God invites us to share our stories, to pour out our experiences of joy and sorrow, confident faith and gnawing doubt.

“Jesus comes alongside us and teaches us – reminding us of God’s transforming love and liberation, for us and for the whole world.” 

As well as the President, the young adults are joined by the six Moderators of the Uniting Church, senior leaders from the Assembly Resourcing Unit and leaders of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress.

The Conference was preceded by a Walking on Country led by Sean Weetra and other members from SA Congress on the land of the Ngarrindjeri people.

A group of 20 people visited Sean’s home community of Raukkan and heard stories of his country and gained insights into our shared history as First and Second Peoples.

Participants visited Coorong National Park, the iconic Raukkan Church and Victor Harbour before returning to Adelaide on Thursday for NYALC at the Nunyara Conference Centre.

Over the next few days, delegates will share in worship and participate in bible studies led by Rev. Dr Jione Havea and a team of young adults.

Leadership expert Naomi Nash will run a number of personal training sessions. There will be community groups, an open session with senior leaders and time for young adults to lead discussions on topics which are important to them.

You can follow the NYALC journey with daily updates on the Uniting Church in Australia’s Facebook and Instagram pages.