Messages of Hope

‘We are a multicultural church’

Published / by Sandy

1985-2020: Celebrating 35 Years of Cultural Diversity
The Uniting Church rejoices in diversity of races, cultures and languages as God’s gracious gift to the human family. In 1985, the Uniting Church Assembly made the declaration “We are a multicultural church.” We continue on our journey to fully realise what it means to be a multicultural church, living faith and life cross-culturally.
We do this by:
* building relationships that are based on mutual respect, collaboration and recognition of the gifts and calling of peoples of diverse cultural and language backgrounds
* assisting the Church to fully utilise the gifts and calling of members from culturally diverse backgrounds
* continuing to develop respectful and reconciling relationships with First peoples across the life of the church
* developing culturally sensitive and appropriate policies that respond to the needs of UCA members
* fostering models of cross-cultural ministry and mission, outreach and evangelism that reflect the hospitality of God

The President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Dr Deidre Palmer, has prepared the following statement for the One Great Sunday of Sharing, which celebrates the 1985 statement that the Uniting Church is a multicultural church (the accompanying video can be viewed at the top of this post).
“From the traditional custodians of this land, the First Peoples, to the many who have come from countries around the world, Australia is rich in culturally and linguistically diverse peoples, and fortunate to benefit from the richness of the many cultures that make up our nation. The Uniting Church rejoices in the diversity of races, cultures and languages as God’s gracious gift and seeks to be a truly multicultural church living its faith and life cross culturally’ and interculturally.
This year marks 35 years since the 4th National Assembly declared ‘the Uniting Church in Australia is a multicultural Church.”
It is a Pentecost vision that people hear and share the good news of Christ in their own language and cultural context, as the Holy Spirit weaves us together as God’s beloved community.
Today we worship in 49 languages other than English. We have more than 201 groups, who worship in a language other than English and we have 13 National Conferences which support congregations and communities from across our cultural diversities. This One Great Sunday of Sharing held on the third Sunday in July, gives an opportunity for Uniting Church congregations, faith communities and fellowship Groups to celebrate that our present, and our future as the Uniting Church, is Christ-centred, Spirit led, intercultural and intergenerational in its leadership, ministry and expression of faith.
It has been a joy for me as President to share with Uniting Church communities across our country in different languages in a diversity of cultural contexts. It has been so encouraging to participate in National Conference gatherings, where we have celebrated in worship, in singing and dancing, our praise to God and our joy at being one in Christ. We have encouraged one another in God’s mission of love, justice and reconciliation.
We live with a common identity in Christ – followers of Jesus, infinitely loved by God, gifted with God’s grace. We honour the cultural contexts in which that common identity in Christ is nurtured. We are committed to being who God calls us to be – a “Church for all God’s People”
In this time of global crisis, where we are witnessing tragic losses of life and devastation of communities and health and economic systems, we need more than ever, to remember who we are called to be as Christ’s Church – a loving, inclusive, multicultural community.
In this time, where the sin of racism continues to undermine our common life, creates fear and threatens the safety and wellbeing of individuals and whole communities of diverse cultures, races and religions, we need to stand in solidarity affirming our call to live out the way of Christ, who breaks down all the barriers that would separate us, and speaks the good news of God’s inclusive welcome and love for all cultures and races.

Pilgrim Uniting Church has also prepared a video for the One Great Sunday of Sharing, with contributions from some of the many cultures represented by people in the UCA. Some of the video will be shown in the 9.30am service on Sunday 19th July.

One Great Sunday of Sharing 2020 video