The Uniting Church: Who Are We?

1. Church Union

The Uniting Church (UCA) was formed in 1977 by the union of the Congregational Union of Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia, and the Presbyterian Church of Australasia. The Basis of Union is the foundational faith statement of this union.

2. Creator and Creation

We believe that God created a world that is good. We take seriously our care and responsibility for God’s world.

We believe that God created people in God’s image. We seek to treat all people with dignity and respect.

We look forward to a renewed creation that God will bring into being.

3. Jesus

We see and know God in Jesus Christ who shows us God’s love and brings freedom, hope, peace and joy.

We believe that Jesus’ life, death and resurrection shows God’s transforming love for all people and society.

4. Spirit

We believe that God is Spirit who guides and gifts people. We believe that God’s Spirit is present in our world. We value and celebrate people’s gifts.

5. Bible

We take seriously the task of interpreting the Bible and relying on biblical scholarship as we seek God’s Word for us today.

6. Sacraments

We baptise people of all ages and welcome people to Holy Communion (or Eucharist).

7. Gender

We believe that God created women and men equal. We celebrate and encourage everyone’s gifts and leadership.

8. Gifts & Ministries

We welcome and encourage the gifts and abilities of all people of all ages, as we believe that all are ‘priests’. We ordain Ministers of the Word and Deacons.

9. First Peoples

We recognise the unique gift and place of Australia’s indigenous people in this land. We seek reconciliation and work for justice with them.

10. Multicultural

We are a multicultural church in a multicultural society. We celebrate, encourage and learn from the rich diversity of our cultures and languages.

11. Ecumenical

We are part of the broad family of Christian churches across the world. We are reformed and evangelical in our heritage. We are committed to working with other churches for unity and for the good of all people.

12. Multi-faith

We live in a multi-faith world and we respect people’s freedom of religious belief. We seek peace and understanding among religions.

13. Welcoming and inclusive

We seek to welcome all people regardless of age, race, abilities, gender identity and sexuality.

14. Social justice

We believe that God is concerned particularly for those who are poor, marginalised or oppressed. We seek fairness, justice and well-being for all people.

15. Scholarship

We value literary, historical and scientific enquiry and the contribution that they make to an informed Christian faith.

16. Governance

The Uniting Church is governed by a series of inter-related councils – congregation, presbytery, synod and assembly. Each synod elects a Moderator and the national Assembly elects a President who provide spiritual and pastoral leadership for a specified term.

These statements summarise parts of the UCA Basis of Union, Constitution and other Assembly documents and resolutions.

 

1977 Statement to the Nation

Read the inaugural statement made at the time of union in June 1977.

People of the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches have united. A new church has been born.

We, who are members of the first Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia address the people of Australia in this historic moment. The path to unity has been long and at times difficult, but we believe this unity is a sign of the reconciliation we seek for the whole human race.

We acknowledge with gratitude that the churches from which we have come have contributed in various ways to the life and development of this nation. A Christian responsibility to society has always been regarded as fundamental to the mission of the Church. In the Uniting Church our response to the Christian gospel will continue to involve us in social and national affairs.

We are conscious of our responsibilities within and beyond this country. We particularly acknowledge our responsibilities as one branch of the Christian church within the region of South-East Asia and the Pacific. In these contexts we make certain affirmations at the time of our inauguration.

We affirm our eagerness to uphold basic Christian values and principles, such as the importance of every human being, the need for integrity in public life, the proclamation of truth and justice, the rights for each citizen to participate in decision-making in the community, religious liberty and personal dignity, and a concern for the welfare of the whole human race.

We pledge ourselves to seek the correction of injustices wherever they occur. We will work for the eradication of poverty and racism within our society and beyond. We affirm the rights of all people to equal educational opportunities, adequate health care, freedom of speech, employment or dignity in unemployment if work is not available. We will oppose all forms of discrimination which infringe basic rights and freedoms.

We will challenge values which emphasise acquisitiveness and greed in disregard of the needs of others and which encourage a higher standard of living for the privileged in the face of the daily widening gap between the rich and poor.

We are concerned with the basic human rights of future generations and will urge the wise use of energy, the protection of the environment and the replenishment of the earth's resources for their use and enjoyment.

Finally we affirm that the first allegiance of Christians is God, under whose judgment the policies and actions of all nations must pass. We realise that sometimes this allegiance may bring us into conflict with the rulers of our day. But our Uniting Church, as an institution within the nation, must constantly stress the universal values which must find expression in national policies if humanity is to survive.

We pledge ourselves to hope and work for a nation whose goals are not guided by self-interest alone, but by concern for the welfare of all persons everywhere — the family of the One God — the God made known in Jesus of Nazareth the One who gave His life for others.

In the spirit of His self-giving love we seek to go forward.