The Uniting Church in Australia has joined global churches and ecumenical bodies calling for immediate steps to formalising peace on the Korean Peninsula.
In a statement issued by the World Council of Churches on the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War (25 June 1950 – 27 July 1953), churches and councils of churches from countries that played a role in the conflict have urged a formal declaration of the end of that War and the adoption of a peace treaty.
Dr Deidre Palmer has encouraged Uniting Church members to apply the difficult learnings of 2020 to shape the way the Church pursues God’s mission in the world.
In her annual message to coincide with the foundation of the UCA on 22 June 1977, Dr Palmer said the Uniting Church was responding with creativity and compassion to COVID-19 and other crises, embracing new opportunities to be the Body of Christ.
The national leaders of the UCA and UAICC are encouraging members to stay active in support of racial justice, as the movement against racism continues around the world.
This week UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer and the Interim Chairperson of the National UAICC Pastor Mark Kickett, met to reflect on recent events, the issues in Australia and the ways church members can address these in the short and longer term.
“Together we grieved Aboriginal deaths in custody that continue, despite the Royal Commission that happened 30 years ago,” said Dr Palmer.
The national leaders of the Uniting Church and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress have shared grief, outrage, and prayers of solidarity with civil rights protesters in the United States, where the murder by police of African American man George Floyd has sparked global anger against racism and police brutality.
Assembly President Dr Deidre Palmer and the Interim UAICC National Chairperson Pastor Mark Kickett have issued Pastoral Statements.
“I join with Christian leaders from around the world to express my outrage and deep sorrow over the murder of George Floyd, and the evil of racism, which gives birth to such acts of inhumanity,” said Dr Palmer.
“I offer prayers for the Floyd family and for all those in the US who live in fear and ongoing discrimination because of the colour of their skin.
President Dr Deidre Palmer has warmly thanked Uniting Church members for their creative responses to being the Church during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a special message for Pentecost, Dr Palmer said it had been "a joy to see the ways you have adjusted to these dramatically changed circumstances."
"I give thanks for all of you – members of the Uniting Church, sisters and brothers in Christ, who are faithfully expressing the ministry of Christ through this time of pandemic."
The Assembly Resourcing Unit has produced a National Reconciliation Week resource for 2020.
The resource includes reflections from UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer and Interim National Chairperson of UAICC Pr Mark Kickett, and endorses the Reconciliation Sunday material produced by Tarlee Leondaris, Covenanting Officer at the Synod of South Australia.
“They showed us unusual kindness”
The theme for the 2020 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity comes from verse 28:2 in the Book of Acts. When the Apostle Paul was shipwrecked off the island of Malta, the local people greeted him with welcome and care. Paul reciprocates the kindness and compassion shown by the Maltese people, and we too are called to greater generosity for those in need.