“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.
President Dr Deidre Palmer has issued a Pastoral Letter to all congregations and faith communities encouraging people with disability within the Uniting Church to share their stories with the Disability Royal Commission.
“The 15th Assembly of the Uniting Church affirmed that all people are created in the image of God and along with all members, the faith, gifts, hopes and dreams of people with disability are to be valued and honoured,” writes Dr Palmer.
“To understand the prevalence and toll of violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of people with disability, it is essential the Disability Royal Commission hear directly from people with disability, their families, and support people.”
The Christian Conference of Asia is working through the COVID-19 crisis by engaging its membership through a series of online conferences and webinars.
I attended the second of a series of CCA events "Churches in Asia responding to the COVID-19 Crisis" on 7 May 2020.
The virtual conference saw engagement from 100 registered participants and also had an audience of over 4,000 viewers who observed the proceedings via the CCA’s social media platforms.
This year due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Building Harmony Iftar Dinner hosted by the Affinity Intercultural Foundation and Uniting Church in Australia took place in a virtual format.
While people could not physically share the meal together, the spirit of friendship and hospitality was shared in abundance as people joined live via the UCA Assembly Facebook page.
The air we’re breathing in our most populated cities is cleaner.
We can see mountains unobstructed by the haze of pollution.
Our children are getting outside, and enjoying the beauty of creation.
There seem to be more birds and animals around, but perhaps we’re just noticing them more.
These are some of the stories we are hearing emerge as some of the positive outcomes to the safety measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
A worldwide climate action led by school students is taking place on Friday 15 May.
UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer has offered a reflection and prayer for people to use in worship as a way of showing their support for the young people leading this global action.
“We have seen what can be achieved in a very short space of time to address a crisis that threatens us all," Dr Palmer said in her reflection, in reference to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We have another crisis that we need to face together – the crisis that our whole creation is groaning under the impacts of climate change, pollution, and degradation of our ecosystems.
The Assembly together with the UCA Synod of Queensland have taken the decision to discontinue long-standing plans to build a new Church at Mapoon on western Cape York in Far North Queensland.
The decision is due to changed circumstances in the Mapoon community, with the Mapoon Community Council advising that it has decided to build its own community-controlled church building.
The Council has secured funds independently of the UCA to do this.
As we experience an easing of restrictions, one thing the coronavirus pandemic has made clear is just how connected we are to each other.
Our responsibility for and dependence on one another has become critical to our own safety and wellbeing, in our families, in our communities, as a nation and as a global human family.
A nationwide climate action led by school students is taking place on Friday 15 May.
Whilst there are many issues of concern during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important not to lose focus on the crucial issues confronting our planet and all creation brought about by climate change.
This crisis and the current lockdown globally have shown us, in small ways, how the planet can recover if we reduce our carbon outputs and pollution generally.
As countries like ours gradually return to normal, it is important that economic recovery and government policy move us into a sustainable future for all creation.
Uniting Church President Dr Deidre Palmer and Rob Floyd and Rev Dr Apwee Ting from the Assembly Resourcing Unit staff held a videoconference catch-up with leaders of nine National Conferences within the UCA on 22 April 2020.
The meeting included leaders from our Fijian, Ibero-Latino, Middle East, Korean, Samoan, Tamil, Chinese, Tongan and Filipino National Conferences.
After opening the meeting, Deidre provided an update of the Church’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and other work currently being undertaken by the Assembly.
Each National Conference leader shared from their own context in the midst of COVID-19.
President Dr Deidre Palmer and the Moderators of the six UCA Synods have released a seven-day devotional resource for the Church.
"What Sustains Us" is a collective reflection on faith and spiritual practice, shared with love and hope in the time of COVID-19.
“I invite Uniting Church members to reflect on: how your faith is sustaining you through this challenging time,” said Dr Palmer.