12th Assembly 2009

Uniting Church remains vibrant, says Ex-President

The outgoing President of the Uniting Church in Australia has said that he has seen areas of growth and vibrancy in many Uniting Church congregations.

In his retiring speech to the 12th Triennial Assembly, Reverend Gregor Henderson said that, at a time when churches around Australia were grappling with a declining, ageing membership, he had a great sense of pride to have led the Uniting Church through a period of renewal and growth.

“Serving as President of the Assembly has been a wonderful privilege, mostly a great pleasure, and a huge encouragement as I have seen the church throughout this land faithfully worshipping the triune God and following the way of Christ,” Rev. Henderson said.

“Wherever I have travelled, there have been church members there with welcome, with hospitality, with receptivity to what I have to share, with shared faith and love. It makes me enormously proud to be part of the Uniting Church.

“It is happening chiefly through families with young children, renewing interest in the faith, and through our migrant-ethnic people,” he said.

Rev. Henderson also spoke of the increasing involvement of the Church in ecumenism and inter-faith relations and the high regard in which the Uniting Church is held in community circles, arising from the service of the UnitingCare network, presence of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress and experience of Frontier Services.

“I have been surprised how community leaders — in business groups, trade unions and community organisations — have readily accepted Uniting Church contributions,” Rev. Henderson said.

“Because we are not afraid to take on difficult areas of community need and to address hard issues in theology, ethics and politics, our standing with community and political leaders is high and our access to them is excellent.”

Rev. Henderson served as President of the Uniting Church Assembly for the past three years. He was last night farewelled in a ceremony which celebrated his contribution to the life of the Church.

He will now return to his local ministry at Canberra Central Parish but will maintain his interest in and commitment to involvement in the life of the broader Church.

Rev. Gregor Henderson is available for comment.

Media Contact: Penelope Monger: 0417 416 674.