I’m sure you are well aware that the Uniting Church turns 40 this month (was the cover a clue?) and it is a major milestone for this uniquely Australian church that came together to live out God’s call to Christian unity.
Forty may be reasonably young in the grand scheme of history but it’s still a major milestone and I’m reminded of Carl Jung’s quote, “Life really does begin at 40. Up until then, you are just doing research”.
If we are to accept Jung’s perspective, what have we learned about ourselves and our church during this “research” phase?
For starters you can see the manifestation of Christ’s spirit in the church’s reach and impact on the community through chaplains, schools, colleges, hospitals, care agencies, family therapy centres and disability services to name a few. Its achievements in the provision of care and support for those on the margins of society as well as those in general need are an inspiring story for generations to come.
But I hope this edition will go some lengths to providing, per Jung, “research findings” on the life of the church over the past forty years. Rev Dr John Squires’ feature article exploring the Statement to the Nation in 1977, 1988 and 2012 is a splendid recap of how the church, since inception, has been striving to shape a society in the best traditions of Christian values and principles.
Elsewhere Dianne Jensen’s look at two Uniting Church members (Brad and Jeanette Heck and Rod Hurman) who exemplify the spirit of service to their community is a reminder of how we can positively impact the lives of Queenslanders around the state and make good on the commitments laid out in the Statement to the Nation and the Basis of Union.
To carry on the “research” theme in a slightly different direction: our June profile on Dr Nathan Palpant, a Uniting Church member and pioneering stem cell biologist, is fascinating stuff regardless of your familiarity with biological science, and might get you wondering what the state of medical science will be when the church reaches another 40 years …
Finally, read the full version of Rev Dr Peter Hobson’s fascinating feature on the biblical significance of the number 40 in the Old and New Testaments and what that means for the church today.