How would you explain the Uniting Church to a newcomer or a new staff worker? I developed this statement as part of my work in relating to Uniting Church schools nationally. Rather than release it an official national statement, this is offered to synods, schools, agencies to use and adapt as they wish.
The Uniting Church: Who Are We?
1. Church Union
The Uniting Church (UCA) was formed in 1977 by the union of the Congregational Union of Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia, and the Presbyterian Church of Australasia. The Basis of Union is the foundational faith statement of this union.
2. Creator and Creation
We believe that God created a world that is good. We take seriously our care and responsibility for God’s world.
We believe that God created people in God’s image. We seek to treat all people with dignity and respect.
We look forward to a renewed creation that God will bring into being.
We see and know God in Jesus Christ who shows us God’s love and brings freedom, hope, peace and joy.
We believe that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection shows God’s transforming love for all people and society.
We believe that God is Spirit who guides and gifts people. We believe that God’s Spirit is present in our world. We value and celebrate people’s gifts.
We take seriously the task of interpreting the Bible and relying on biblical scholarship as we seek God’s Word for us today.
We baptise people of all ages and welcome people to Holy Communion (or Eucharist).
We believe that God created women and men equal. We celebrate and encourage everyone’s gifts and leadership.
8. Gifts & Ministries
We welcome and encourage the gifts and abilities of all people of all ages, as we believe that all are ‘priests’. We ordain Ministers of the Word and Deacons.
9. First Peoples
We recognise the unique gift and place of Australia’s indigenous people in this land. We seek reconciliation and work for justice with them.
We are a multicultural church in a multicultural society. We celebrate, encourage and learn from the rich diversity of our cultures and languages.
We are part of the broad family of Christian churches across the world. We are reformed and evangelical in our heritage. We are committed to working with other churches for unity and for the good of all people.
We live in a multi-faith world and we respect people’s freedom of religious belief. We seek peace and understanding among religions.
13. Welcoming and inclusive
We seek to welcome all people regardless of age, race, abilities, gender identity and gender orientation.
14. Social justice
We believe that God is concerned particularly for those who are poor, marginalised or oppressed. We seek fairness, justice and well-being for all people.
We value literary, historical and scientific enquiry and the contribution that they make to an informed Christian faith.
The Uniting Church is governed by a series of inter-related councils – congregation, presbytery, synod and assembly. Each synod elects a Moderator and the national Assembly elects a President who provide spiritual and pastoral leadership for a specified term.
These statements summarise parts of the UCA Basis of Union, Constitution and other Assembly documents and resolutions.
Basis of Union
Revised Preamble to the UCA Constitution
“Statement to the Nation,” 1977
“An Economy of Life”, UCA Assembly, 2009
Assembly 2015 Resolutions
“Dignity in Humanity: A Uniting Church Statement on Human Rights“, UCA Assembly, 2006.
“Introducing the Uniting Church in Australia”
“Living with the Neighbour who is different: Christian faith in a multi-religious world,” Assembly 2000.
“We are a multicultural church,” Uniting Church Assembly, 1985
“ Why does the Uniting Church in Australia Ordain Women to the Ministry of the Word?”, Assembly Standing Committee 1990.
Assembly Formation, Education & Discipleship