The Uniting Church is the third largest Christian denomination in Australia and the first church to be created in and of Australia. It came into being on 22 June 1977, after three denominations – Congregational Union in Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia, and the Presbyterian Church of Australia – joined together. In uniting, the church testified to “that unity which is both Christ’s gift and will for the Church” (Basis of Union, para. 1).
Ecumenism remains a vital aspect in all of the Church’s life and work – in local congregations, national commitments to work together with other churches, and relationships and partnerships with churches of various denominations in Asia and the Pacific.
On any Sunday more than 2,500 congregations worship at a Uniting Church including many congregations that worship in languages other than English.
The Uniting Church believes that through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God brings us into right relationship with God, whereby in faith we can:
- live in a close, loving, personal, dynamic relationship with the living God;
- participate in the worshipping, caring and serving community of Christians;
- receive God’s gifts so that life can be what God means it to be – loving, purposeful, joyful, eternal; and
- tell others of this good news and live it out in acts of compassion, service and justice in the community.
The Uniting Church’s commitment to love of God and neighbour has sometimes drawn it into controversial situations. It has long taken a role in the political arena, encouraging moral, social and ethical integrity. The Uniting Church has been at the forefront of Aboriginal rights issues including the Native Title debate and reconciliation. It has taken a stand on environmental issues and supports the equality and dignity of marginalised people such as ethnic minorities, disabled people and homosexual people. It is a multicultural church, striving to treat people on an equal basis, and seeking to give a voice to the poor, outcast and needy.
The UCA is also the largest non-government provider of community services in Australia. We achieve this through our community services arm, UnitingCare. This is an umbrella of more than 400 agencies, institutions, and parish missions throughout Australia. Areas of service include aged care, children, youth and family, disability, employment, emergency relief, drug and alcohol, youth homelessness and suicide.
A key component of our justice work is the UCA’s efforts to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians together and to support the Indigenous community generally. We do this primarily through the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC). Established in 1985 as the Indigenous arm of the UCA, the UAICC is dedicated to seeking the spiritual, physical, social, mental and emotional wellbeing of Indigenous Australians.The Uniting Church recognises the pain and damage caused to our country’s native people through settlement and beyond. In 1997, recognising its past mistakes, the Uniting Church made a formal apology to the Stolen Generation. We participate each year in National Sorry Day.
[extracts from Uniting Church Assembly website]