12th Assembly 2009

New leader for the Uniting Church in Australia

The Uniting Church in Australia last night installed a new President to lead the church for the next three years.

Rev. Alistair Macrae was officially installed in a ceremony at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, at the opening night of the Uniting Church’s 12th Triennial Assembly.

In his opening sermon to an audience of some 300 people, Rev. Macrae acknowledged his installation came at a time when the church was being tested.

“Mainstream churches in Australia and elsewhere are in a crisis situation,” Rev. Macrae said.

He drew on both biblical and human images of water, thirst and dry land to call on the church to reinvigorate its mission.

“Do we go into shutdown and fear mode, or consider that maybe God wants us to do and be something different?” he asked.

“Our position in society has radically changed. Most of us see the threat in that but we need, as a church, to see the opportunities.

“It’s about what mindset we bring to the current crisis.”

Noting how pollution and over-consumption had come to characterise the industrialised-world, he said the church should develop a new appreciation for the gift of water and its own vocation of stewardship of the earth.

The church was challenged, he said, to express the universal, all-encompassing love, grace and mercy of God and to share the gospel with creativity and joy.

The President will chair the six-day Assembly meeting, where significant decisions about the life of the Uniting Church will be made.

Rev. Macrae, previously the executive director for the Centre for Theology and Ministry at the University of Melbourne, lives in Melbourne with his wife, Clare, a writer, and three of his four children.

Rev. Alistair Macrae is available for comment.

Media Contact: Penelope Monger: 0417 416 674.