The Christian Unity Working Group relates to the committees concerned with ecumenical relations in each synod and reports on a regular basis to the General Secretary and to the Assembly.
Each bi-lateral dialogue and conversation develops a specific focus and agenda. Currently there are active bi-lateral dialogues with the following churches:
• Anglican Church of Australia
• Roman Catholic Church
• Lutheran Church of Australia
• The Salvation Army
Meet the Christian Unity Working Group Members
Rev. Dr Morag Logan is Presbytery Minister, Pastoral Care, in the Presbytery of Yarra Yarra, Victoria. She is an associate faculty member of Pilgrim Theological College. She has a PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary in Biblical Studies (Old Testament). Her experience includes serving in the Church of Scotland. She has been chaplain of the University of Melbourne. She is a member of the Victorian Council of Churches Faith and Order Commission. Currently she is one of the Vice-Moderators of the World Council of Churches Faith and Order Commission. She has been a member of the Christian Unity Working Group for a number of years and has been Deputy Chairperson.
Rev. Dr Chris Walker is the National Consultant for Christian Unity, Doctrine and Worship. He has degrees from the University of Sydney, Garrett Theological Seminary and a PhD in theology from Claremont University in the USA. He has ministered in three congregations in NSW, has served as a consultant for the Synod of Queensland, was principal of Parkin-Wesley College in SA, and mission consultant for Parramatta-Nepean presbytery in NSW. He has written five books and editedBuilding on the Basis, papers from the Doctrine and Worship working groups 2000 – 2011. He edited Being and Doing Church, a Uniting Church Perspective which was launched at the 2015 Assembly.
Rev. Professor Emeritus Robert W. Gribben
After a ministry chiefly in rural, suburban and central city congregations, Robert Gribben retired as Professor of Worship and Mission at Melbourne in 2009. He has been a member of the CUWG since 1994, and its Chair 1995- 2004, serving also on the Anglican-UCA dialogue 2003-2012. He was General Secretary of the Victorian Council of Churches 1989-1995. He served as Ecumenical Lecturer in the Church of England theological college in Lincoln, UK from 1980-84, and was tutor at the WCC Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, Switzerland, 1984-84. From 1999 he has been a UCA representative on the World Methodist Council, and since 2001 has chaired its Standing Committee on Ecumenical Relationships, was co-chair of its international dialogue with the Anglican Communion and co-author of its recent report, and a consultant to similar dialogues with the Salvation Army, the Roman Catholic Church, the Orthodox Churches and the Baptist World Alliance. He retires from his WMC post in August 2017. He was co-founder and chair of the Centre for Ecumenical Studies (Charles Sturt University) from 1997-2014, and still lectures in their intensive course on the Ecumenical Movement in Australia and New Zealand. He regularly teaches, preaches and writes in ecumenical contexts here and overseas.
Mr Gavin William Faichney
He is a retired lay person having been a lecturer and faculty fellow in the Faculty of Education at Deakin University from 1973-2002. He was Chair of the International Assembly of Social Educators from 1996-1999. He served as convenor of the State Curriculum committee from 1994-1998. He is a member of St Luke’s Uniting Church, Mt Waverley. He has been a member of the Synod of Vic/Tas Ecumenical Relations Committee since 2004, a member of the Victorian Council of Churches Executive since 2005, and a member of the Christian Unity Working Group since 2009. Having grown up in a Presbyterian manse and been a member of the Uniting Church since its inception, he brings a life time of experience in the life of the Church, educational expertise, and significant involvement in ecumenism especially since 2003.
Rev. Charity Majiza
Originally from South Africa of Xhosa descent, she is currently serving as a Minister of Echuca Moama Uniting Church in the Presbytery of North East Victoria. Previously she was Chaplain at Wesley College in Melbourne. Her ordination was in the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa (now the Uniting Church in Southern Africa). She has served as a parish minister in South Africa, Scotland and Australia. She was General Secretary of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) and involved in the Community of women and men programs of the WCC. She is on the continuation committee of the United and Uniting Churches group of the WCC. She attended the inauguration of the World Communion of the Reformed Churches (WCRC). She has had a long involvement in local ecumenical activities. Her involvements also include being on the Reception of Ministers’ Committee of the Assembly. She brings the experience of living and working in different countries, living cross culturally, and has some understanding of the north and south perspectives on historical and theological issues.
Ms Joan McRae
She is chairperson of the Shepparton Congregation and secretary of the Presbytery of North East Victoria. She has had long involvement in ecumenical matters. She is a former chairperson of the Synod of Vic/Tas Ecumenical Relations Committee. She is a Uniting Church representative to the Victorian Council of Churches and was a member of VCC Executive until November 2013. She is a
member and former secretary Australian Academy of Liturgy; a member and former secretary and chairperson Royal School of Church Music, Victoria Branch. She is a member of the Anglican-Uniting Joint Standing Committee Trinity Declaration which looks at all sorts of co-operation in Anglican and Uniting congregations in Vic/Tas. She is a founding member and executive member of Shepparton Interfaith Network. She is also a Lay Preacher, very actively involved at local, Presbytery, Synod and national level.
Rev. Dr Avril Hannah-Jones
She is the Minister at Williamstown Uniting Church. Previously she served Uniting churches in the Macedon Ranges. Prior to that placement she lived for six months as part of the World Council of Churches’ international, ecumenical community at the Chateau de Bossey, outside Geneva. Her first degrees were in Arts and Law. She has a PhD in history and a Masters of Divinity. She is committed to ecumenism, inclusion and social justice. She believes that the story told by the orthodox Christian faith, of a God who became human out of love for humanity and who is in God’s very self a community of love, is the most exciting story ever told. She seeks to convey this in creative ways.
Rev. Jacob Sungdae Yang
He is currently a Minister at Deepdene Uniting Church which combined with South Hawthorn Uniting Church in 2008. He was ordained in the Presbyterian Church of Korea and transferred to the Uniting Church in 2004. He obtained a Bachelor of Art and then Master of Divinity from the Presbyterian College and Seminary in Korea and a Master of Theology from the Melbourne College of Divinity. He has been on the Christian Unity Working Group. From 2012-2014 he was chairperson of the Korean National Council. He is a member of the resourcing committee of the Yarra Yarra Presbytery and facilitator of the association of Korean ministers in the Vic/Tas Synod.
Rev. Margie Dahl
She had an ecumenical upbringing being baptised in the Church of Norway (Lutheran), went to Methodist and Presbyterian Sunday Schools, came to faith in an Anglican Church, married a Catholic and spent one month as an honorary Quaker. She was ordained as a Deacon in 1994 and then became a Minister of the Word in 2000. She has served in the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne, Bendigo and the Mornington Peninsula. She is currently a Minister at Gresswell congregation part of the Banyule Network of Uniting Churches. She attended the 3rd Receptive Ecumenism Conference at Fairfield University, Connecticut USA in June 2014.
Rev. Peter Weeks
He is currently the Minister at Craigburn and Wallen Uniting Churches. He has ministered in Tasmania and in a joint Anglican - Uniting Church parish. He is chairperson of the Vic/Tas Synod Ecumenical Relations Committee. He has been a Uniting Church representative on the Victorian Council of Churches since 2008. He is a member of the Australian Academy of Liturgy, on the Uniting Network national executive, and is chairperson of the Hume Interfaith Network. He is interested in liturgy/worship, social justice issues especially to do with refugees and asylum seekers and GLBTIQ people, ecumenism and interfaith matters.
Dr Michael Champion
He is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at the Australian Catholic University. Previously he was Lecturer in Classics at the University of WA. He was a former co-lay chaplain at St Georges College, licenced by the Anglican Archbishop of Perth. He is involved in Mark the Evangelist Uniting Church in North Melbourne. He has had previous involvement in the Christian Unity Working Group and in a dialogue team. His academic specialisation is in historical theology of the early church to Byzantium, ancient philosophy and especially ancient ethics. He has been involved in dialogue especially with the Eastern Churches and has an interest in Anglican and Roman Catholic dialogue. He is serving on the Victorian Council of Churches. He is interested in finding ways to facilitate ecumenical theological engagement. He us attentive to how traditions both limit and open up access to the divine glory.