12.17.05 Working Group on Relations with Other Faiths
Friendship in the Presence of Difference: Christian Witness in Multifaith Australia
(a) note that “We are a Multicultural Church” (Assembly, 1985) that embraces cultural diversity as a gift from the Creator;
(b) note that the church lives in a multicultural and cross cultural society and therefore reached out to people of different cultures and faiths (Living with the Neighbour who is different: Christian Vocation in Multifaith Australia, 9th Assembly 2000
(c) receive the paper Friendship in the Presence of Difference: Christian Witness in Multifaith Australia (Relations with Other Faiths) report Appendix 1) as an update to the resource, Living with a Neighbour who is Different: Christian Vocation in Multifaith Australia, 9th Assembly 2000);
(d) request the Working Group on Relations with other Faiths to develop resources associated with the paper; and
(e) commend the paper Friendship in the Presence of Deference: Christian Witness in Multifaith Australia and the associated study resources to presbyteries and congregations from their use. (Agreement)
Reports to the Thirteenth Assembly : The Uniting Church in Australia
Appendix 1 - Reports to the Thirteenth Assembly : The Uniting Church in Australia
00.20.3 The Assembly resolved:
(a) to express its commitment to solidarity with all people seeking justice for war crimes;
(b) to express its belief that neither the passage of time nor the vagaries of location whould become pretexts for inaction in the pursuit of justice;
(c) to work for the further development and acceptance of international agreements and efforts in bringing to justice alleged war criminals and persons charged with genocide;
(d) to encourage the Australian Government to
* cooperate further with relevant bodies within Australia and overseas in the pursuit of alleged war criminals and those charged with genocide;
* ensure that there are government or other officially recognised/authorised bodies in australia with specific responsibility for the investigation and pursuit of alleged war criminals and those charged with genocide;
* adequately resource appropriate government or other officially recognised/authorised bodies to investigate and act upon all allegations of war crimes and genocide brought against persons known or thought to be residing in Australia;
(e) to inform the Australian Government of these resolutions.
97.16.02 The Assembly resolved:
(a) in response to the growing desire for inter-faith services within the community and the need for Uniting Church members to relate to people of other religious traditions within a multi-faith society, and noting the guidelines adopted by Standing Committee in the document "So, you want to worship together", to request the Commission on Doctrine to prepare a document on "theological issues in inter-faith relationships";
(b) to approve the co-option of a representative from the Working Group on Relations with Other Faiths to work with the Commission on Doctrine for the purpose of this theological reflection and report;
(c) to request the Commission on Doctrine to report to the Ninth Assembly, with progress reports to the Standing Committee;
97.29 The Assembly resolved:
2. to adopt the "Statement Inviting the Uniting Church to Dialogue with the Jewish Community", with clauses 7.9 to 7.12 in the following words:
7.9 reads "That the Jewish people have a particular historical, cultural, emotional and spiritual bond with the land of Israel, which is a central element of the Jewish faith, and which is inextricably bound to the history of the Jewish people."
7.10 (new) reads "That the historical roots, rights and aspirations of the Palestinian people must be properly acknowledged."
7.11 (previous 7.10) reads " That from a properly informed position, and in the light of the moral tradition of Christianity, it can be appropriate for the Uniting Church to have and express a view about both Israeli and Palestinian policies and actions."
7.12 (previous 7.11) as is;
3. to commend this Statement to the members , congregations and councils of the Uniting Church in Australia, and distribute it in the following way;
* to synod journals, with a request that they publish the Statement;
* to presbyteries, with a request that they give it consideration and discuss ways in which they might facilitate conversations with Jewish people;
* to theological schools within the Uniting Church in Australia, with a request that they include it in discussions within their ordained courses;
4. to distribute the Statement to:
* heads of other Christian denominations in Australia;
* national and state Councils of Churches;
* appropriate Jewish bodies in Australia
the Council of Christians and Jews in each state where it exists;
5. to encourage the following specific actions in all sectors of the Uniting Church in Australia:
(a) to encourage lay preachers, theological students, Youth Workers and ordained Ministers to take into account the theological implications of all expressions of anti-Semitism throughout the history of western culture, culminating in the Holocaust (the Shoah) in their reading and interpretation of scripture;
(b) to encourage preachers, liturgists, teachers adn study leaders to be sensitive to the ways they portray Jewish people and Judaism, taking care expecially to avoid inaccuracies and distortions, noting particularly the assistance which is given in this task by the Council of Christians and Jews (Vicotria) publication, Rightly Explaining the Word of Truth;
(c) to encourage members of the Church to join their state Council of Christians and Jews and participate in its activities;
(d) to encourage congregations and parishes to arrange visits to a local synagogue and joint meetings to discuss issues of common concern;
(e) to encourage congregations and parishes to study the commentary material on section 7 of this Statement, and to use the kit Understanding Anti-Semitism, and the accompanying video From the Cross to the Swastika;
(f) to encourage presbyteries to support and devlop programs which bring together members of their churches with members of local synagogoes, for mutual study and dialogue.
96.76 The Assembly Standing Committee:
1. request the Working Group [on Relations with Other Faiths] to make minor amendments to the document 'Guidelines for Multi-faith Gatherings' in light of Standing Committee discussion;
3. send copies of the brochure to all synods and presbyteries encouraging them to make it widely available throughout the church.
94.33.02 That the Assembly
94.65 That the Assembly Standing Committee:
1. establish a task group to consider how Assembly minute 94.33.02 might best be implemented, and authorise the task group to take steps prior to the next meeting of Standing Committee;
4. request the task group to report to the next meeting of the Standing Committee.
93.76.4 That the Assembly Standing Committee:
(a) support the Australian Government's action in signing the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief;
(b) endorse the Government's action of declaring the United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, under Section 47 of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act;
(c) notify church members of this decision through Assembly Update and synod newspapers;
(d) convey this decision to the Government and the Opposition.
92.46 That the Assembly Standing Committee:
2. establish a national dialogue between the Uniting Church and the Jewish community and request the Working Group on Relations with Other Faiths to act on behalf of the Assembly in establishing and overseeing this dialogue;
91.60 The Assembly Standing Committee resolved:
1. that Standing Committee expresses its concern about the lack of respect in the media and in forms of entertainment for beliefs and values which various religious groups in our community hold sacred. It encourages members of the Uniting Church in Australia to make appropriate protest when such desrespect occurs;
2. that the Board for Social Responsibility of the Synod of New South Wales be asked:
(a) to keep the Standing Committee informed on the work being done on blasphemy and disrespect for other' beliefs in Australian society;
(b) to consider ecumenical and inter-faith ways of pursuing any action arising from that work.