Home > Opinion > The Uniting Church at 33 years

The Uniting Church at 33 years

On the 22nd June the Uniting Church in Australia celebrated it’s 33rd Birthday. This anniversary prompted me to think about who we are as a church and what we stand for. At 33 you’re a grown up and you know who you are. I think it’s appropriate on our birthday to reflect on how we got here, who we are and why we do the things we do.

On that Wednesday, the 22nd June 33 years ago we set down our Basis of Union. In this document we affirmed who we are and the path we set ourselves upon. The conference ‘Engaging the Basis’ held this month at the Centre for Theology and Ministry in Melbourne is important because it reconnects us with our identity and purpose.

It describes us as people who are ‘on the way to the promised end’ and commits us to mission and unity. The Assembly statement we are a Multicultural church is a statement about what we do as much as who we are.

In the 1977 Statement to the Nation we said that we would;

“[P]ledge ourselves to seek the correction of injustices wherever they occur. We will work for the eradication of poverty and racism within our society and beyond. We affirm the rights of all people to equal educational opportunities, adequate health care, freedom of speech, employment or dignity in unemployment if work is not available. We will oppose all forms of discrimination which infringe basic rights and freedoms.

“We will challenge values which emphasise acquisitiveness and greed in disregard of the needs of others and which encourage a higher standard of living for the privileged in the face of the daily widening gap between the rich and poor.

“We are concerned with the basic human rights of future generations and will urge the wise use of energy, the protection of the environment and the replenishment of the earth’s resources for their use and enjoyment.”

These goals are the star on the horizon that points to that ‘promised end’. It is these statements made at our formation that propel us forward when we talk to the government about compassion for asylum seekers, fairer taxation systems and human rights. It’s because it’s who we are as a church, because ultimately “we affirm that the first allegiance of Christians is Jesus Christ , under whose eye the policies and actions of all nations must pass.”

Grace and Peace

First printed in Assembly Update 6 July 2010