About the Uniting Church in Australia
The Uniting Church is the third largest Christian denomination in Australia and the first church to be created in and of Australia. On any Sunday more than 2,000 congregations worship at a Uniting Church including many congregations that worship in languages other than English. Our churches can be found deep in the heart of our cities, or in our most isolated and outback towns. Many congregations have existed for years while others are new and worship in different ways. Even though our congregations can be vastly different, each is a community in which people seek to follow Jesus, learn about God, share their faith, care for each other, serve the local community and seek to live faithfully and with real joy. This is the kind of engaging church that we are.
The Uniting Church’s beliefs are drawn from the Bible and from the Apostles’ and Nicene creeds. The Church also heeds the Reformation Witness in the Scots Confession of Faith (1647), the Savoy Declaration (1658), and the preaching of John Wesley in his Forty Four Sermons (1793). It affirms the place of ongoing theological, literary, historical and scientific study. The UCA’s Basis of Union (1971) brings together aspects of these writings and traditions and sets out the church’s way of living and being.
The Uniting Church confidently believes that through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God brings us into right relationship with God, whereby in faith we can:
- live in a close, loving, personal, dynamic relationship with the living God;
- participate in the worshipping, caring and serving community of Christians;
- receive God’s gifts so that life can be what God means it to be – loving, purposeful, joyful, eternal; and
- tell others of this good news and live it out in acts of compassion, service and justice in the community.
The Uniting Church came into being on 22 June 1977, after three denominations – Congregational Union in Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia, and the Presbyterian Church of Australia – joined together.
In uniting, the members of those bodies testified to “that unity which is both Christ’s gift and will for the Church” (Basis of Union, para. 1).
Ecumenism remains a vital aspect in all of the Church’s life and work – in local congregations, national commitments to work together with other churches, and relationships and partnerships with churches of various denominations in Asia and the Pacific.
As a people journeying together we affirm our calling under God:
- to preach Christ the risen crucified one and confess him as Lord;
- to bear witness to the unity of faith and life in Christ, rising above cultural, economic, national and racial boundaries;
- to engage in fearless prophetic ministry in relation to social evils which deny God’s active will for justice and peace;
- to act with God alongside the oppressed, the hurt and the poor;
- to accept responsibility for the wise use and conservation of the finite resources of this earth for the benefit of all;
- to recognise, treasure and use the gifts of the Spirit given to all God’s people for ministering; and
- to live a creative, adventurous life of faith, characterised by openness, flexibility, hope and joy (based on a statement from the inaugural worship service of the Uniting Church in Australia, June 1977).
OUR FAITH IN ACTION
The Uniting Church’s commitment to love of God and neighbour has sometimes drawn it into controversial situations. It has long taken a role in the political arena, encouraging moral, social and ethical integrity. The Uniting Church has been at the forefront of Aboriginal rights issues including the Native Title debate and reconciliation. It has taken a stand on environmental issues and supports the equality and dignity of marginalised people such as ethnic minorities, disabled people and homosexual people. It is a multicultural church, striving to treat people on an equal basis, and seeking to give a voice to the poor, outcast and needy.
However only some of the Uniting Church’s discipling is viewed in public. Much of its role is to stand alongside the individual, inside and outside the church. Its congregations nurture spiritual, social and educational growth. Lay people are encouraged in leadership roles, including preaching of the Word and leading of congregational worship.
For more information head to the National Assembly website