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Wednesday, 21 July 2004

Growth and Perspective: President's address to the ASC

In his report the Assembly Standing Committee, President, Rev. Dean Drayton, told delegates that his first year has been one of growth in a national and international perspective.

“Being in this position changes you,” Rev. Drayton told the ASC.

“When I came into this position I really thought that I had a good perspective on the life of the Church. Now, after a year, I have realised that it’s a job I am still growing into and that as I travel across the country and meet with people, I get a better understanding of the local and national issues facing them.”

“If the Church also thinks globally and nationally, then we will get a different perspective and a different appreciation of God’s calling,” he said.

He emphasized, “Since the gospel is the heart of our message, we need to find the language of today so that people can hear again the wonder of God’s new possibilities.”

“Our experience in Indonesia, which was focused by the past President, Rev. James Haire has shown us the importance of interfaith dialogues and in realising that we need to express the gospel in a way that will speak into this issue of the twenty first century.

“Our current political landscape has created a society where many people have an individualised view, to the extent of creating suspicion of those who are different.

“Interfaith dialogue is an important first step in addressing these issues both internationally and within Australia and our Church is leading the way in this area.”

Rev. Drayton said he was heartened by the number of people who expressed support for the Church’s commitment to a fair society.

“We have an inhumane immigration system that is denying basic human rights, and the fourth highest level of poverty in the developed world.”

“As a Church, we are already doing great things to help address these issues and wherever I have travelled, I am thrilled that people are living out their faith in their community life and engaging widely on these sorts of issues.”

“Despite being a broad Church serving many different people, these are the type of things that bring us together as the Uniting Church and bind us in a shared expression of our faith,” Rev. Drayton said.