News

For immediate release The Uniting Church in Australia is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this Friday, June 22. Congregations all over the country are holding special services or social events to celebrate the milestone. The third largest church in Australia, the Uniting Church was formed on 22 June 1977 when the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian churches united. The first service, held on the 26th of June, was broadcast live around Australia on ABC television. There are now approximately 2800 congregations and some 300,000 active members. In the 2001 Census, 1.2 million Australians described themselves as Uniting Church. Despite the strength of the Uniting Church in Australia, President Rev. Gregor Henderson says the Church is being far more deliberate in inviting people to faith. “30 years ago we didn’t need to worry about church growth in Australia. Huge cultural shifts of secularism, materialism and individualism have dramatically changed that”, Rev. Henderson said. “We now actively work on growing our church and planning for future growth.” “We are an inclusive, diverse and multicultural church. We have a good number of growing and vibrant congregations, new congregations starting every year, and 160 congregations worshipping in languages other than English - including 16 Aboriginal languages at last count. Looking forward I see a confident and joyful Church which is attractive and welcoming to all sorts of people.” An active voice on social justice throughout its history, the Uniting Church works on issues such as refugees, poverty, and Indigenous rights. The Church directly advocates for changes in Government policies to meet people’s needs better, and works in partnership with other organisations and churches here and overseas. “More than any other church in Australia, the Uniting Church actively seeks to work with other churches and faiths to achieve common goals.” The Uniting Church is also the largest non-government provider of community services in Australia through the UnitingCare network. Rev. Henderson said the 30th Anniversary is a time for all members of the Church to celebrate what we have achieved and our fellowship in Christ. “I invite everyone to share in our celebrations this week, whether it be going to worship or one of the events planned, or just going to the website to find out more about this extraordinary fellowship of Christians we proudly call the Uniting Church in Australia.”


Media Contact: Kathryn Crosby, Assembly Communication Unit – 0417 416 674

 


For immediate release

The Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) of the Uniting Church is urging the Australian Government to revise its approach to its emergency response reforms to tackle Indigenous child abuse in the Northern Territory if it is to affect real improvements.

UAICC National Administrator the Rev Shayne Blackman said he fully supported moves by the Australian Government to provide positive intervention to tackle child abuse but questioned their hasty emergency response approach in an election year which he said lacked full and proper negotiation with relevant Indigenous stakeholders.

‘This rapid reform approach taken by the Government needs to be negotiated from the ground up in conjunction with those Indigenous community leaders with a demonstrable record of achievement and not just solely imposed from Canberra” said Rev Blackman.

‘“The Government’s ferocious and hasty reforms are laced with military style coercion and have not been fully negotiated with those Northern Territory communities in a manner and timeframe that will enable all Indigenous stakeholders in this issue to be in a position to support the reforms in any cohesive fashion.

“While positive intervention is required we do not welcome this fierce approach by the Government which further marginalizes Indigenous community decision makers and which will serve to create further resentment.

“Every Australian child deserves a secure future free of abuse and if the Government is impartial in its dealings with the citizens of this nation then the same heavy handed tactics it is employing in Indigenous communities of the Northern Territory should be applied rights across every town and city, with abuse perpetrators to be dealt with under our existing legal framework.

‘We are calling upon the Government to enact policy in collaboration with Indigenous leadership that encourages individual empowerment and ownership of responsibility and this requires a new structural governance framework that conduits Indigenous wisdom from a community level into legislative decisions.

“In the interests of equality and justice I call upon the Government to reassess its approach” said Rev Blackman.


UAICC Media Contact: Ramon Peachey (07) 4773 5077

The National Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia has today welcomed the Rudd Government’s initiative to end the detention of asylum seekers on the island nation of Nauru.

Rev. Elenie Poulos, National Director of UnitingJustice Australia, praised Immigration Minister, Chris Evans’ decision to provide resettlement to seven Burmese men currently detained on Nauru.

“We congratulate the Federal Government on taking important steps to provide resettlement opportunities to these seven men who have been held on the island for more than a year,” Rev. Poulos said.

“We are pleased that the Minister has promised to quickly review the cases of the remaining refugees and asylum seekers and to end once and for all this damaging practice of detention on Nauru.”

Rev. Poulos said the Uniting Church was fully supportive of the dismantling of the Pacific Solution, set up by the previous Federal Government.

“The Pacific Solution has placed us in breach of our international refugee obligations and adversely affected our reputation as a country committed to upholding human rights.

“It has been a cruel policy and its detrimental effects on individual refugees, some of whom were detained for more than three years, have been well documented.

“This policy, which has cost millions of dollars, has seen refugees languishing on Nauru and Manus Islands for years with no access to proper services and appropriate representation, and no clear hope for future resettlement, as the Government played politics with their lives.

 “We welcome action to dismantle the Pacific Solution policy, and to provide refugees with resettlement opportunities within the Australian community.”

Uniting Church in Australia members, congregations and agencies around the country are involved in caring for refugees and asylum seekers and advocating for just and appropriate policies which uphold their rights and respond positively to their needs.

The Uniting Church has spoken out against the Pacific Solution since its inception.

 

For immediate release

http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=nuclear+warhead&page=2Uniting Church in Australia President, Reverend Gregor Henderson, has on the occasion of the United Nations International Day of Peace, this Sunday 21 September, called on Australians to believe in peace.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Ministry of Pastor Rules now available

In August the Ministerial Education Commission has finalised the Rules for the Ministry of Pastor. The Rules can be found on the Ministry of Pastor page.

The Uniting Church was today one of 50+ organisations from across the country to call on the Federal Government to engage in a public consultation on human rights protection.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

UCA consults with federal opposition

Continuing the UCA’s dialogue with leaders in the National Parliament, the UCA President and General Secretary have met with the Liberal Party leader. 

The Uniting Church has been one of the key instigators of a multi-faith call for action on climate change.