12th Assembly 2009

Two out of five not bad

The 12th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia has considered key directions for the future and found only partial agreement so far.

The national peak decision-making body, meeting in Sydney July 15-21, considered key future directions in five areas.

In the Saturday afternoon session, July 18, it affirmed two and deferred a decision on three.

It unanimously agreed to continue its effective working relationship with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress.

That included seeking reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians, seeking ways to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander spirituality to be received in the life of the church, and encouraging church members to develop long-term working relationships with Indigenous people.

The Assembly also unanimously affirmed continuing to engage in Jesus’ ministry of peacemaking within the church and the world.

That would be pursued by developing resources to strengthen skills and strategies for living together in a peaceful, multicultural and diverse church, promoting human rights and fostering respect for God’s creation.

Decisions in the three other areas proposed were deferred pending further discussion to clarify the wording of the proposals.

They were evangelism, Christian education within the church and loosening restrictions on local councils and congregations.

Later sessions of the Assembly will consider revised wording of these three proposals.

The five Assembly key directions were suggested by the Assembly Standing Committee. That followed the decision of the 11th Assembly three years ago that key directions be used by the Standing Committee, the Secretariat and church agencies as a reference point to shape their work over the three-year period between assemblies.