The Uniting Church celebrated 35 years last Thursday, 22 June. Here is a reflection:
A Basis for a direction
On Saturday 22 June 1977, I was walking along the beach at Caloundra with some friends. Our spirits were buoyed up by the creation of the Uniting Church in Australia that very day.
I wasn’t part of the Uniting Church back then. I wasn’t a Methodist or a Presbyterian. I wasn’t a Congregationalist. I was looking in from the outside and it was all very inspiring to me.
It wasn’t long before I was reading the Basis of Union, the document that the three churches who came into union agreed to. It excited me. (If you don’t think the Basis of Union could excite anyone, may I suggest you take the time to actually read it?)
Since 1977, the Uniting Church has become a source of joy and pain to me and to many. How could it be any other way? If you love something or someone, if you open your heart to them, you become vulnerable. I certainly feel ‘vulnerable’ to the Uniting Church.
Sometimes, though, I can’t quite identify with the ‘pain’ some other people talk about. For example: people have accused the Uniting Church of failing to stand for anything. I joined because the Uniting Church stood for active Christian unity, because it cared about the place of women in the Church and because it was passionate about justice.
But still there are those who have said our Church has no real identity. Sorry, but if a passion for unity and justice aren’t an identity, I don’t know what is.