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The Uniting Church in Australia turns 30

The Uniting Church in Australia is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this Friday, June 22. Congregations all over the country are holding special services or social events to celebrate the milestone.

The third largest church in Australia, the Uniting Church was formed on 22 June 1977 when the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian churches united. The first service, held on the 26th of June, was broadcast live around Australia on ABC television.

There are now approximately 2800 congregations and some 300,000 active members. In the 2001 Census, 1.2 million Australians described themselves as Uniting Church. Despite the strength of the Uniting Church in Australia, President Rev Gregor Henderson says the Church is being far more deliberate in inviting people to faith.

“30 years ago we didn’t need to worry about church growth in Australia. Huge cultural shifts of secularism, materialism and individualism have dramatically changed that”, Mr Henderson said. “We now actively work on growing our church and planning for future growth.”

“We are an inclusive, diverse and multicultural church. We have a good number of growing and vibrant congregations, new congregations starting every year, and 160 congregations worshipping in languages other than English – including 16 Aboriginal languages at last count. Looking forward I see a confident and joyful Church which is attractive and welcoming to all sorts of people.”

An active voice on social justice throughout its history, the Uniting Church works on issues such as refugees, poverty, and Indigenous rights. The Church directly advocates for changes in Government policies to meet people’s needs better, and works in partnership with other organisations and churches here and overseas.

“More than any other church in Australia, the Uniting Church actively seeks to work with other churches and faiths to achieve common goals.”

The Uniting Church is also the largest non-government provider of community services in Australia through the UnitingCare network.

Mr Henderson said the 30th Anniversary is a time for all members of the Church to celebrate what we have achieved and our fellowship in Christ. “I invite everyone to share in our celebrations this week, whether it be going to worship or one of the events planned, or just going to the website to find out more about this extraordinary fellowship of Christians we proudly call the Uniting Church in Australia.”