12th Assembly 2009

National meeting opens amid cleansing smoke

The 12th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia was officially opened on July 15 with an acknowledgment of country in the form of a prayer by Pearl Wymarra. Ms Wymarra, Development and Outreach Officer for the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) in the Synod of New South Wales and the ACT, gained permission from local elders to give the acknowledgment.

Eulo Max from the Gadigal peopleMembers of Assembly passed through a haze of cleansing smoke in a traditional Indigenous smoking ceremony performed by Eulo Max from the Gadigal people of the Eora nation in the grounds of Basser College at the University of New South Wales, Kensington campus.

The new national Chair of the UAICC, Ken Sumner, retiring Assembly President the Rev. Gregor Henderson, Assembly General Secretary the Rev. Terence Corkin and members of Congress led the way through the smoke for the members of Assembly to move to their first worship service together.

During the short worship service Mr Henderson welcomed members to the 12th Assembly meeting and reminded them that they came as part of the “one holy catholic and apostolic Church”.

“We come as a young church … seeking to follow the way of Christ in Australia,” he said.

Mr Henderson also prayed for the Holy Spirit to guide the business of the meeting and closed with a prayer from Reformation theologian John Calvin to “illuminate our minds in the Holy Spirit”.