Having trouble coping with an upcoming four zero birthday? The Uniting Church in Australia will hit the big 40 milestone in 2017 and Journey has put together some things to do before we cut the cake.
We are Australia’s first home-grown church, formed with a dangerous, creative mission to journey as pilgrims. Over nearly four decades we have created a network of thriving multicultural churches, empowered women into leadership and ministry, and committed ourselves to be open and inclusive worshipping communities. Our call for a just and compassionate world is undiminished. God is good. Start planning a seriously big birthday party!
Maybe we thought that we would always hold the high moral ground and that the world would beat a path to our door. Maybe we assumed that the Uniting Church would live forever, because that was God’s plan. As we have matured, have we learned that those things might not be true? Can we find new ways to understand ourselves and our part in God’s mission?
While we were busy getting on with things, some people just slipped away. Why not make a list of members you haven’t seen for a while? Sometimes a simple phone call or note will help reestablish contact. Perhaps an invite to that party we talked about?
We’ve been through some tough times in the last 39 years. For some, the pain of division and the heartache of disappointment linger. Where and how do we need to be healed? To whom can we reach out?
Ours is the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3) but it falls to each generation to interpret that message to the world. As Paul writes in 1 Thessalonians, test everything; hold fast what is good. How can we interpret and share our faith afresh in this generation?
We are only keepers of the resources passed on by our mothers and fathers in faith. Our buildings and wealth belong to the whole church for the service of God. Look for the next generation, and find the courage to let go. Let’s not subside into a safe middle age, recalling past glory and clinging to what we have.
What goals can we set for the next Synod, and then in five and ten years? Life begins at 40!
The Uniting Church will celebrate its 39th anniversary on 22 June 2016. Watch for updates on the Synod Facebook page, facebook.com/unitingchurch.queensland