Now it springs up, do you perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19)
“I want you to look around and see what God is doing in our midst,” says Stuart McMillan in the President’s 2016 message for the 39th anniversary of the Uniting Church in Australia.
Text of Speech:
The 22nd of June 2016 marks 39 years of faithful service for us as the pilgrim people of God.
Anniversaries are always a time of reflection about where we’re going and how far we’ve come.
This reflection was part of a video we produced 29 years ago.
VOICEOVER: “The Uniting Church will virtually disappear from many significant sections of our cities of it fails to become seriously involved with the increasing multi-cultural character of urban Australia.”
At that 10 year anniversary the Church leaders expressed concern about our ageing and diminishing membership, and in particular young adults.
Importantly they noted the need to engage with multiculturalism.
The same wisdom and some of the same anxieties – are with us today.
So let me share with you what the Spirit of God is doing in the Uniting Church in Australia right now as we enter our 40th year.
Every Sunday there are 185 specific language worshipping communities, not to mention First Peoples language worshipping communities.
Second Peoples communities worship in 25 different languages.
This is amazing!
There is, increasingly, a desire for us to become a truly intercultural worshipping community.
The Uniting Church in Australia is being transformed into a rich tapestry of diverse cultures and languages with experiences and contextual understandings of God through which the Holy Spirit is renewing us as the people of God, to shape our intercultural community as a sign and a foretaste of the reconciliation and renewal of all things.
This excites me and it is a great reason to celebrate on this 39th anniversary.
Well I want you to look around and see what God is doing in our midst and like the prophet Isaiah I say to you, “now it springs up, do you perceive it?”
Will you with me imagine our Church, First and Second Peoples together, a true intercultural community of Christ?
Seeking justice and peace in our nation and globally with our partners?
Reaching out to serve those most disadvantaged and marginalised in our communities and offering hospitality to all?
Now it springs up, do you perceive it?
Thank you for being a part of our community of love, who worship, witness and live in the abundance of God.
President, Uniting Church in Australia