Messages of Hope

Growing Up Uniting

Published / by Sandy

The Uniting Church National History Association 3rd Biennial Conference was held in Sydney over the June long weekend 2021.

Participants were invited to consider what it meant to be ‘Growing up Uniting‘ in a secular age, or growing up ecumenically, theologically, spiritually, proudly, liturgically, multiculturally, hopefully and joyfully.

Young people from various Uniting Church CALD communities explored what it meant to be growing up Tongan Australian, Korean Australian, Fijian Australian, Samoan Australian etc in the Uniting Church.

As well, there was an opportunity to consider what it means to grow up disciples or to explore growing old gracefully in the Uniting Church.

A new book, Growing Up Uniting, was launched at the conference. It is a collection of reflections by young people in the Uniting Church, edited by Rev Dr William Emilsen (available through MediaCom).

Image: Rev Dr William Emilsen (editor) and Rev Ellie Elia (contributor)

Dr Judith Raftery, President of the Uniting Church (SA) Historical Society, and a member at Pilgrim Uniting Church, commends the book:

“This collection of lively and thoughtful essays is instructive reading for anyone who cares about the present and future of the Uniting Church in Australia. The contributors write with candour about their experiences of “growing up Uniting.” The UCA’s contribution to their lives – its open and welcoming style, its encouragement of their questions and its capacity to respond with conversations that open up rather than close down further enquiry, its provision of loving and practical mentoring, its embrace of diversity and inclusiveness, its witness to radical gospel values of justice, compassion, servant leadership and rejection of oppression – is enthusiastically acknowledged. But they are not blind to their church’s shortcomings – its failure to always live up to the best impulses of the Basis of Union, its growing tendency to replace conciliar and consensus models of decision-making with corporate and managerialist ones, its loss of its early enthusiasm and imagination in the provision of youth ministries, its preference (sometimes and in some places), for hankering after old and past-it certainties rather than grasping the uncertainties of new challenges. These are the young people of our church, speaking to us all. We would do well to heed what they say, allow ourselves to be reproved by it, and let their insights and hopes temper our sometimes fearful predictions about the UCA’s future”.

A book well worth reading as we celebrate the 44th anniversary of the Uniting Church (inauguarated on 22nd June 1977).