Messages of Hope

Month: May 2021

Pentecost Sunday

Published / by Sandy

The Uniting Church is blessed with multiple languages ​​in both our First Peoples and Second Peoples. In the Uniting Church, there are more than 45 languages groups worshipping every Sunday in congregations across the country.

On the Day of Pentecost one of the great miracles of the Spirit of God was manifested in various languages. The ability to speak and hear the Good News in different languages ​​is an important sign of God’s presence. On the day of Pentecost, we see language is part of the diversity and unity of all God’s People. Language is no longer a barrier.

In the coming of the Spirit among the disciples, we see the diversity of society is no longer a threat nor is it something that divides us – rather it is the reality of God’s creation. We celebrate our diversity as God’s gift.

For this Pentecost Celebration, Rev Dr Apwee Ting (UCA Assembly National Consultant) has prepared a video with 21 UCA members reading the familiar narrative from Acts 2: 1-21, in their heart languages.

The Coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-21)

1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. (Rosemary Jinmauliya, Burarra)

And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. (Helen Milminydjarrk, Djambarrpuyŋu)

Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. (Perry Yankaporta, Wik Mungkan)

All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. (Carolyn Namiriya, Pitjantjatjara)

Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. (Rev Dr Emanuel Audisho, Arabic)

And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. ( Anita Soghomonian, Armenian)

Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? (Rev Enshuo Zhu, Chinese)

And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? (Rev Paul Dau, Dinka)

Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, (Nina Kautoga, Fijian)

10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, (Cecile Surjanegara, Indonesian)

11 both Jews and proselytesCretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” (Rev Seungjae Yeon, Korean)

12 All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” (Falala Pipitolu-Talagi, Niuean)

13 But others sneered and said, “They are filled with new wine.” (Elizabeth Leth,Nuer)

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, “Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say. (Rev Esteban Lievano, Portugese)

15 Indeed, these are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. (Rev Kili Mafaufau, Samoan)

16 No, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: (Rev Kemeri Lievano, Spanish)

17 ‘In the last days it will be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh,
    and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
    and your old men shall dream dreams. (Keyna Gem Guerrero,Tagalog)

18 Even upon my slaves, both men and women,
    in those days I will pour out my Spirit;
        and they shall prophesy. (Jane Zeng, Taiwanese)

19 And I will show portents in the heaven above
    and signs on the earth below,
        blood, and fire, and smoky mist. (Sakuntala Roberts Tamil)

20 The sun shall be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood,
        before the coming of the Lord’s great and glorious day. (Lisita Palutele,Tongan)

21 Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ (Anh Vo,Vietnamese)

This video is part of a series reflecting on the Identity of the Uniting Church.  It provides a reminder and a celebration of our Identity as an intercultural church – both our commitment to being multicultural and to living our life and faith as an intercultural community.

Care for Creation

Published / by Sandy

‘In the last days it will be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.’
(Acts 2:17, NRSV)

‘God in Christ has given to all people in the Church the Holy Spirit as a pledge and foretaste of that coming reconciliation and renewal which is the end in view for the whole creation.’ (Basis of Union, Par. 3)

In February 2021 at the annual meeting of the South Australian UCA Synod, we resolved that in the Shaping the Future – Strategic Priorities for the Uniting Church Synod of SA 2021 -2025, Caring for Creation should be one of our guiding principles through which all strategic priorities pass.

As we approach Pentecost Sunday, we are reminded of our Uniting Church’s vision toward the goal of reconciliation and renewal of the whole creation. In the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, our Church’s confession that Jesus is Lord comes together with its interconnected confession that, ‘the earth is the Lord’s and everything in it’ (Psalm 24:1, NIV). Humanity is not the master of the earth but is responsible to care for the integrity of creation. We, as God’s people are called to participate in the mission of the Holy Spirit to renew the whole creation.

Recently, a series of new resources were developed by the UCA Environmental Action Group in cooperation with Uniting Church Fellowship and Mission Support (UCFAMS), with support from the SA UCA Synod, entitled, “Lessons from Covid-19 for the Climate emergency”.

At the launch, Dr Deidre Palmer, President of the Uniting Church in Australia, said:

“This resource raises awareness of the climate crisis we face, encourages conversation and reflection – personally and communally. It sets it within the context of our Biblical and theological foundations and our faithful following of Jesus. It encourages us to engage intelligently with the science, and to seriously question the way we are living our lives daily. The resource sets it within the context of what we have been facing over this past year, and our response. After more than a year of the emergence of the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, and as we continue to live with all its impacts, we are grieving -the loss of life, loss of social connection, loss of income and the uncertainty for our future. We lament the inequities in our world, where not everyone has the opportunity to wash their hands in clean water, or to socially distance, as they cope with crowded shelters and inadequate health care. We are joining together in global cooperation, and in Australia, to stem the spread of this virus, and to protect the most vulnerable in our community”.

“Our political leaders and health and economic professionals are leading us through this crisis with guidance that is based on scientific evidence and compassionate care for those impacted. We have seen what can be achieved in a very short space of time to address a crisis that threatens us all. In the resource, “Lessons from COVID19 for the Climate Emergency”, we recognize as a Church, we have another crisis that we need to face together – the crisis that our whole creation is groaning under the impacts of climate change, pollution, and degradation of our ecosystems”.

“Emerging from the COVID crisis – what will we do? Some have talked about what will be the “new normal” on the other side of this pandemic. This is a time for us as the Uniting Church to be asking: What do we want our common life to be? As followers of Jesus, what are the values and practices we want to embrace and maintain? How will we bear witness to God’s vision of the reconciliation and renewal of the whole creation?”

“The new resource encourages us to consider these questions and others that are before us, and to take action. We need to urgently take action to prioritise what is important for now and into our future. God is calling us to shape a world, where our common life includes care for the earth, which we all share; a recognition, that creation is not there simply for our use and abuse, but the creatures of the earth, the plants, and the land itself, need to be respected, and cherished. We need to live in a sustainable way, using renewable sources of energy, recycling, reducing waste, and having sustainable manufacturing and agricultural practices, so that there is a future for our earth. We need our Government to set in place strategies to ensure that all communities are able to transition into the new low carbon world for the sake of the whole planet”.

Deidre outlined the video series:

The first video is an introduction to the series by Rev Jennifer Hughes.

In the second video “Compassion and Innovation”, Tarlee Leondaris speaks of the significant challenges that face us, if we don’t respond to the climate crisis. And she reminds us of God’s great compassion for the earth. She also reminds us that God’s call to us is to participate in God’s mission now in our present: “Jesus’ understanding of the new heaven and new earth includes that it is not just a future phenomenon, after our death. We are participants in bringing them about in this time and in this place.” She notes that there is hope – and that “Hope is a verb, rather than a noun” – an action.

The third video features Rev John Hughes speaking about our “Connectedness” – with a reference to our SA Synod Moderator’s theme: Connections – we are connected with God, with each other and the earth.

The fourth video is led by Leigh Newton, exploring “Learning from Science”. Leigh reminds us of one of the significant lessons from COVID19 –we need to heed the science – listen to those scientists, who point to the evidence of global warming, and the effects of climate change.

The fifth and final video features Carys Penny who challenges us to consider: “how much do we need?” – and calls us to consider how we live with integrity and sustainably, respecting the earth. She calls us to challenge over consumption and a disposable, throwaway lifestyle.

“As the Uniting Church, as followers of Jesus, we are called to take action to address climate change and renew and protect the life of our planet. We are called to move toward sustainable and non-exploitative living, embracing a relationship of mutuality and respectful interdependence with the whole creation. In concluding, Dr Palmer said, “I highly commend this resource to the whole Church – it will contribute to the deepening of our Christian discipleship in our care for God’s creation”.

A PRAYER FOR THE EARTH
Creator God,
We give you thanks for your beautiful creation. We give you thanks for the intricate web of life that weaves us together. We give you thanks for this resource and pray your blessing on all those who use it. Christ, our Redeemer, forgive us when we exploit and degrade the earth. Forgive us when we consume more than we need. Forgive us when we greedily use the earth’s resources, while others are living in poverty and lack the basic necessities of life. As people around our nation gather in groups to reflect on the themes raised in this resource, renew your vision within us of a world in which we love our neighbours, share equitably all the gifts of the earth, and live in harmony with all creation. Holy Spirit, Life giver, may we be bearers of your liberating hope. Sustain us as we participate in God’s reconciliation and the renewal of the whole earth. Amen.

‘Lord, send out your Spirit, and renew the face of the earth’ (Ps 104:1).

Environmental Action Group on Youtube, blogsite
Uniting Church Fellowship and Mission Support (UCFAMS) 
Youtube channel; President: Jill Polkinghorne
Phone 85226188/0404 326 092 or email jillpolki@gmail.com

(On Friday 21 May, Uniting Church members across the country will join with young people at marches and other events calling for a more genuine response to climate change. Read more here).

Investing in the economy

Published / by Sandy

A statement from the National Assembly, Uniting Church in Australia, in response to this year’s budget, with comments from key leaders in the Assembly (originally published on the UCA Assembly website):

Dr Deidre Palmer, UCA President;
Claerwen Little, UnitingCare Australia National Director;
Pastor Mark Kickett, Interim Chairperson
Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress;
Jannine Jackson, Frontier Services National Director ;
Sureka Goringe, UnitingWorld National Director.

Jim Wallis (Sojourners) has said, “A budget shows who’s important, who’s not, what’s important, what’s not.” It’s helpful to remember that the Federal Government acts on the specific mandated responsibilities it has (as outlined in the Constitution) and does not act outside of those defined areas. ‘Who’s important, who’s not, what’s important, what’s not’ needs to be understood within the specific responsibilities of the Federal Government.

In considering the budget presented to Parliament, there will be matters of relevance affecting the work of the UCA agencies and networks.

Addressing aspects of the budget, the Uniting Church in Australia has welcomed the Federal Government 2021-22 Budget with its historic investment in social services as part of a range of measures focused on rebuilding the economy.

“We welcome this recovery-focused Budget particularly the record investment in vital services that will make a difference for many Australians” said UCA President Dr Deidre Palmer.

Dr Palmer welcomed record investment in aged care, mental health, women’s economic security, safety and participation.

“One of our key learnings from the past 12 months is that we are only as strong and healthy as the most vulnerable members of our society, and we welcome investment in measures that will improve the well-being of our whole society,” said Dr Palmer.

At the same time, Dr Palmer said there were also missed opportunities in areas which might bring about the flourishing of all people and all creation.

“It is disappointing to see there is next to no funding for renewable energy in the budget and no real plan for how Australia can invest in a more sustainable future and strengthen our response to climate change.”

Refugees and people seeking asylum are no better off from the Budget, with the Government continuing to invest in offshore and onshore detention and the absence of any new reforms to the community sponsorship program.

In their response to the Budget, UnitingCare Australia National Director Claerwen Little welcomed the Government’s focus on essential services and the Government’s comprehensive response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.

“As part of the Australian Aged Care Collaboration, we are pleased to see the $17.7 billion investment in aged care over five years and commend the Government’s commitment to transformation,” said Ms Little. “We are now on the pathway to address many of the challenges facing aged care.”

Ms Little also welcomed investment in homelessness services, mental health and policies that support women saying these measures will support thousands of families, individuals and communities.

In respect to funding for First Peoples, Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) Interim Chairperson Ps Mark Kickett welcomed some measures including a new Remote Jobs Program, but expressed disappointment that the Budget lacked the scope and scale to deliver lasting change.

“Sadly, this budget fails to deliver on Closing the Gap for First Peoples including a lack of funding for measures to address the overincarceration of First Peoples, such as support for justice reinvestment,” said Ps Kickett. “For there to be tangible and lasting change we need to invest in community-led programs and services across all key areas of policy, including health, mental health, justice, employment, disability, early childhood care and development, and families.”

Frontier Services National Director Jannine Jackson said the Budget had some steps in the right direction for people in rural and remote Australia but fell short of meeting the need. Ms Jackson welcomed the increased spending on digital mental health support targeted at fly-in and fly-out workers but said this was not enough to address the growing mental health crisis.

“While we appreciate the response, there is limited access to reliable internet and our concern is that when in a crisis, communication is critical. When you are dealing with delicate issues like suicide, having ongoing access to real people is essential.”

UnitingWorld National Director Sureka Goringe expressed concern that while COVID-19 escalates for our closest neighbours in the Asia-Pacific region, the Government’s international aid spending continues to decline.

“We acknowledge the work that is being done by the Australian Government to help our neighbours respond but greater investment is needed to manage the scale of the crisis which has plunged 120 million people into extreme poverty.”

“As a nation we are rightly proud of how we have managed the pandemic, but we believe we have a responsibility to leverage this success and contribute in ways that will ensure an equitable and just recovery for all.”

DNA of the UCA

Published / by Sandy

UCA theologian and blogger Rev Dr John Squires names 10 distinctive features of the Uniting Church in Australia that make up our identity and contribution to the mission of God in the world (originally published on UCA National Assembly website)

The Uniting Church is part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church – we see ourselves as just one part of a much larger whole. We do the things that other denominations within the church do: we gather for worship, preach the Gospel, care for the needy, witness to our faith, and connect with communities.

We have many organisations that cater specifically for pre-schoolers, school students, people with disabilities, theological students, adult learners, Indigenous people and aged and infirm people. We have chaplains in hospitals, schools, industry, and the defence forces. And we have congregations in many places across the continent.

When we worship, we feel connected with the people of God of all denominations across the globe. When we witness, we bear testimony to the faith shared by Christians of many varieties. When we reach out in service, we act in solidarity with people of Christian faith, people of other faiths, and people of goodwill of any stripe, in our communities and across the globe.

We share in the call to be missional, universal, set apart, and unified, as God’s people together. Or in more traditional theological language, we are part of the ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic’ church.

But we believe that we have some distinctive elements to contribute to that larger whole. Our identity as the Uniting Church in Australia is marked by ten distinctive features.

I   In Ecumenical Relationship

When the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian churches joined together in 1977 to form the Uniting Church in Australia, they declared that this union was both in accord with the will of God, and that it was a gift of God to the people of God in Australia.

Since then, the Uniting Church has been a church which is committed to working ecumenically with other Christian denominations. That commitment is one very important aspect of our identity as a Uniting Church. We belong to the National Council of Churches in Australia and the World Council of Churches, where we co-operate with many denominations.

Nationally, we have participated in ongoing conversations with other denominations (Anglican, Lutheran, Greek Orthodox, and Roman Catholic). At the grassroots level, our ministers participate in local ministers’ associations in hundreds of towns and cities across the nation. Some Congregations share buildings with other denominations; some worship and serve together, especially in rural towns.

We are an ecumenical church.

II   In Covenant with First Peoples

A very important dimension to being the church in this country is that we are a church in Covenant with the First Peoples of Australia. From its earliest years, the Uniting Church has been involved in actions which express our solidarity with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Older members will recall events at Noonkanbah Station in the Kimberley in 1980, when Uniting Church members stood in solidarity with the traditional owners, the Yungngora people, against the mining of their land.

The Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) was established in 1985, and a Covenant between the UAICC and the UCA was implemented in 1994. This Covenant recognises that working for reconciliation amongst people is central to the Gospel.

In 2009, the Preamble to the UCA Constitution was revised to recognise the difficult history of relationships between the First Peoples and the later arrivals, as Second Peoples. In 2018, we agreed to support a Makarrata process to give a clear national voice to First Peoples, and to support a national Treaty. Our present relationship is one which seeks to ensure that we commit to the destiny together which we share as Australians. One expression of this commitment is the Walking Together as First and Second Peoples Circle.

We stand in covenant relationship with the First Peoples.

III   A Multicultural Church 

In the same year that the Congress was formed, the Uniting Church declared that it is a multicultural church, which rejoices in the diversity of cultures and languages which are found across Australia. The Basis of Union recognises that we share much, as Australians, with people of Asia and the Pacific. The Uniting Church has maintained strong relationships with churches from these regions, as well forging new links with churches in Africa and the Middle East.

The Statement to the Nation, issued in 1977, acknowledged that the Uniting Church seeks a unity that transcends cultural, economic and racial distinctions. Within Australia, there are 12 national conferences based on regional groupings and people from 193 language groups who belong to the Uniting Church.

Each Sunday, worship takes place in Uniting Churches in 26 languages from cultures beyond Australia, as well as many Indigenous languages used in worship by first peoples across our church. We have learnt the importance of moving form “enjoying each other’s foods”, to conversing at a deep level about the hopes and expectations we bring from different cultural experiences. We have learnt that we need to be intercultural in our relationships.

Through UnitingWorld, we maintain partnerships with churches in Asia, the Pacific, Africa and the Middle East. We are truly a multicultural church. Through the Relations with Other Faiths Working Group and the Seeking Common Ground Circle, the Uniting Church has been active in developing relationships and building understanding of other faith communities. We have a long and fruitful dialogue with the Jewish community, and participate in a number of other interfaith conversations. We are firmly committed to constructive interfaith relations.

We continue to develop as a church in deepening relationships with many cultures and faiths. 

IV   All the people of God

The Uniting Church is a church which values the ministry of all the people of God and seeks to order itself in accordance with the will of God. Our Basis of Union affirms that every member of the church is engaged to confess Christ crucified, and every person is gifted by the Spirit to engage in ministry in their own particular way. We are a church that values the ministry of each and every person.

Throughout the life of the Uniting Church, we have held our structures and forms of ministry accountable to ongoing scrutiny. Alongside the Ministry of the Word, to nurture and guide Congregations, we have introduced the Ministry of Deacon, to focus attention on people living on the margins. We have introduced the Ministry of Pastor to recognise the giftedness of lay people, and that sits alongside the Ministry of Lay Preacher (which we have had since 1977) and the more recent accreditation of Lay Presiders in many locations.

We have also undertaken important conversations about membership and the relationship of Baptism to Holy Communion. We now have a clear commitment to an open table when we gather for The Lord’s Supper: all who are baptised (whether adult or child, whether confirmed or not) are welcome to share at this table.

We are a church which values the ministry of all the people of God.

V   Women and Men

The Basis of Union makes it very clear that we are a church which is committed to equality and mutuality of women and men in ministry. Even before 1977, the three previous denominations had ordained women to ministry. This is a very strong distinctive, especially in the Australian scene.

Since 1977, many women have stood on an equal basis alongside men, as Ministers of the Word, Deacons, Elders, Church Councillors, Lay Preachers, Lay Presiders, Chaplains, and Pastoral Carers. We value the insights and experience of women in each and every way that we seek to “be church”—as we gather to worship, as we witness to our faith, as we serve the wider community.

Both lay and ordained women have served in leadership positions across all councils of the Uniting Church, from Church Council Chairpersons to Presbytery Chairpersons, to Synod Moderators and Secretaries, to the Assembly General Secretary and President. Many couples minister together as husband and wife. Gender equality is most certainly part of our identity.

We are committed to mutuality and gender equality in every part of the church.

VI   Discernment

Another contribution that the UCA has made has been to highlight the importance, when we gather in council, of being open to the Spirit, and seeking to discern the will of God. We live this out in our councils by practising a process of consensus decision-making. The Manual for Meetings sets out the various elements that are involved in making decisions by discernment: a time of information, a time of deliberation, and a time of decision-making.

The infamous “coloured cards” are only one small part of the whole. The focus is on listening to the Spirit before we speak, and striving to find a way forward that most, if not all, people can see as the will of God for the church. This way of decision-making, which originated in the UCA, has now been adopted by the World Council of Churches and a number of its member Churches.

We are a church which deliberately seeks to discern the movement of the Spirit in our midst.

VII   Professional Standards

Over the last 20 years, the Uniting Church has developed a firm commitment to strong professional standards, for Ministers as well as for lay people who exercise leadership in the church. Our commitment to professional standards emerged initially in response to the problems of sexual misconduct within the church. A whole section of the Regulations is now devoted to this.

Since 1999, all Ministers have been expected to adhere to a Code of Ethics, and this has most recently been revised to provide a Code of Ethics Ministry Practice for Ministers and a Code of Conduct for Lay Leaders. Ministers and Pastors undertake regular training in aspects of this code, in ethical ministry workshops.

Since the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, we have intensified our efforts to ensure that our churches are Safe Places, valuing everybody, honouring integrity, avoiding negative and hurtful behaviours.

We are a church which values integrity and clarity about our ethical standards.

VIII   Open to explore difficult issues 

Over 40 years, the Uniting Church has shown that it is a church which is prepared to engage in difficult discussions about contentious issues. Our Basis of Union commits us to learn from the insights of contemporary scientific and historical studies, and affirms that we remain open to correction by God in the way we order our life together.

In the early years of the Uniting Church, debates about Baptism were the focus of great controversy. Infant baptism had been an integral part of the worship practices of each denomination which joined the Uniting Church, but Ministers and Elders Councils were receiving regular requests for baptism by adults who had been baptised as infants but had come to a personal faith later in their lives. After debates stretching through the 1980s and 1990s, the Uniting Church has developed a clear set of protocols to cover such requests.

Another area of enduring controversy has been that of human sexuality. There is a wide diversity of opinion within society relating to such matters, and this diversity is present within the Uniting Church. Once again, from the 1980s though into the present era, lively debates regarding human sexuality have taken place in the various councils of the church. We have worked through difficult decisions about sexuality and leadership, and then about sexuality, gender, and marriage. We continue to learn, explore, and adapt.

In dealing with such issues, we have learned how to debate with respect and integrity with ongoing conversations looking to employ a “Space for Grace” process to encourage respectful, empowering, and inclusive decision-making.

We seek to be a church that engages in the difficult discussions with honesty, transparency, and hopefulness.

IX   Advocating for Justice

The Uniting Church inherited from its predecessor Churches a strong commitment to advocating for justice for all. Many Uniting Church congregations and members are actively committed to serving those people who find themselves on the margins of society. This commitment was clearly articulated in the 1977 Statement to the Nation and it has been evident in many actions undertaken by Uniting Church members over the decades.

The Uniting Church has joined in common cause with other groups and organisations in society, in advocating for a welcoming attitude towards refugees; in lobbying for a fair and just system of caring for people who are experiencing poverty and homelessness; in seeking equity for workers in their workplace; and in many other issues.

A regular stream of policy documents and public resolutions point to a clear and unbroken commitment to seeking justice for all. Each federal election, we are provided with resources that encourage us, as people of faith, to consider the implications of our votes in the life of the nation. The Working for Justice Circle is one platform where UCA members share their passion for justice.

We are a church which is strongly committed to justice for all.

X   Environmental Sustainability

In like manner, the Uniting Church has always been a church which honours the environment and supports a sustainable lifestyle. Although such matters are firmly on the radar of the public now, they have long been integral to the identity of the UCA. Once again, the 1977 Statement to the Nation flagged such commitment. A series of subsequent documents attest to the ongoing determination of the church to live responsibly, in such a way that we minimise the damage we cause to the environment in which we live.

Our partnerships with Churches in the Pacific have intensified our awareness of the negative impacts that are resulting from climate change. We know that we need to act now, to reduce the threat. Each year, we experience catastrophic consequences from more regular and more intensified “natural disasters”—fires, floods, drought, cyclones. Just as we provide pastoral support in these situations through Disaster Response Chaplains, so too we maintain advocacy with governments, urging them to set policies which will turn us away from the trajectory of yet more environmental disasters.

Locally, many Congregations and individual members of the UCA are seeking to implement practices that will reduce their carbon footprint on the planet. We know that we owe it to future generations, to live responsibly in the present.

We are a church that lives, acts, and advocates for a sustainable environmental future.

You may have some thoughts about what I have articulated above. You may have thought, “what about …?” – something that I have overlooked, that you see as important. You may have some questions about how I have described some of these elements. I encourage you to talk with others about how you respond. Together, we are the Uniting Church!


Rev Dr John Squires is Presbytery Minister—Wellbeing in the Canberra Region Presbytery. He blogs regularly about various matters at An Informed Faith – John T Squires, including the identity of the Uniting Church. See https://johntsquires.com/2018/08/15/what-i-really-like-about-the-basis-of-union/ and https://johntsquires.com/2018/08/20/alongside-the-basis-of-union-there-was-the-statement-to-the-nation/