Staff learned that across Australia almost a million people identify with the Uniting Church including 100,000 people who gather at 2100 congregations and worship in one or more of 40 different languages.
Former UCA President Rev. Prof Dutney, who has lectured on Uniting Church for more than 20 years, provided an insight into the historical context which lead to the birth of the Uniting Church in Australia.
He spoke of the remarkable vision for Christian unity tracing back to the early 20th century which led to the union of three denominations - the Congregational Union in Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia and the Presbyterian Church of Australia - on 22 June 1977.
Staff took a fresh look at the document underpinning this vision, the Basis of Union which sets out the Church’s way of living and being.
Paragraph 3 struck a particular chord with staff members in how they see their work as part of the mission of God in the world.
Rev. Prof Dutney explained that as Uniting Church, “We go to places of brokenness because that is where God is. God in Christ is bringing reconciliation and renewal to all creation.”
“For the Church of God, that is an important thing. Whatever it takes to be the mission of God, that’s what we’re for.”
Staff were invited into a conversation about the core values of Uniting Church, including our commitment to be in covenant with First Peoples.
Some other key values named included:
- Sharing the Christian faith and message
- Evangelism and how the Gospel has power to change lives
- Serving people in need
- A commitment to justice and peace
- Shared leadership within different generations, gender and cultural groups.
Another identifying feature of the Uniting Church is the belief that every member of the Uniting Church is passionately engaged in ministry.
Rev. Prof Dutney explained, “Rather than looking for people with particular skills, we look at the people and ask, ‘what is God calling you to do?’ and that is how we find where the Spirit is calling the Church.”