A Reflection on Diversity and the Church
Rev. Dr Ji Zhang 张骥 Assembly Theologian in residence
This week a friend asked me about my name. “What does Ji mean?” “It is about a horse, a perfect horse”. “I see, this is why Perfect Horse is your name on Facebook?” Then I went on to tell him about my family. I was born in the Year of Horse in 1966. The Chinese character for Ji 骥 consists of four characters: “horse 马”, “north 北”, “field 田”, and “unity 共”. Those last three together are a literary way of saying to hope for something. My mother imagined a perfect horse would come from the north, ride over fields, and unite our family. In the end she was right: now we are in Australia and she is with us too.
In 2001 I was seconded by the Senior Chaplain of the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) to support his work for a very intense week as the Black Christmas bushfires broke out in multiple areas across NSW from Christmas Day into the New Year.
Rev Dr Ji Zhang 张骥 Assembly Theologian in residence
This week the Victoria/Tasmania Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia passed a resolution to call for the Australian Government to work with the governments of South Korea, the United States of America and allies to reduce tensions on the Korean Peninsula through negotiation rather than escalating confrontation.
Four newly commissioned Assembly leaders have been sent out into their ministry.
Rob Floyd, Sureka Goringe, Jannine Jackson and Leo Iosifidis received the charge from President Stuart McMillan surrounded by their colleagues, family and friends at Wesley Mission in Sydney.
A guide on how to facilitate a conversation using the Space for Grace process has been published in booklet form.
Space for Grace is a tool developed over a number of years by the Assembly’s Multicultural and Cross Cultural Reference Committee based on its approach to making decisions across a diverse group of people.
The guide, written by Rev. Dr Amelia Koh-Butler and Rev. Dr Tony Floyd, is an important resource for making decisions in an intercultural context and has been provided as one of the resources for the Church’s respectful conversations on marriage.
In his introduction to the booklet Uniting Church President Stuart McMillan writes, “Being open to difference and grappling with it respectfully is the great and eternal work of reconciliation that continues within the Church and beyond.”
“No matter how difficult the conversation or how wide the differences are, there is nothing that cannot be resolved if we are prepared to hear one another and leave the space for God’s grace.”
This week the new Assembly Resourcing Unit (ARU) met for the first time in the National Assembly offices in Sydney.
The ARU will give oversight to a number of areas of work within the Assembly, supported by the Working Groups and Reference Committees that the Assembly has appointed, including justice, doctrine, worship, Christian unity, multicultural and cross cultural ministry, education, evangelism, discipleship and relations with other faiths.
Disaster Recovery coordinators have mapped out the beginnings of an ecumenical national alliance with their state and territory counterparts in disaster recovery.
With the blessings of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA), we will work together on national communication, cooperation and policy for delivering chaplaincy to the community, working alongside government emergency management plans.
VicTas Moderator Rev Sharon Hollis joined with the Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne on Tuesday night to launch a historic ecumenical agreement between the Uniting and Anglican churches.
Weaving a New Cloth is the first agreement signed between the two churches in nearly 30 years.
The Australian Government has announced the process it will follow for the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey.