It is important to reflect on all that God is doing amongst us
The President, Stuart McMillan and Assembly General Secretary, Colleen Geyer both reported to Synod activities of the Assembly over the last 18 months.
After paying his respects to the traditional owners of the land, Stuart shared his “joy” at sharing in the activities of Synod in the lead up to the 40th anniversary of the Church in June 2017.
“It is important to reflect on all that God is doing amongst us. We acknowledge our current realities and we look to the future and all that God is calling us to,” stated Stuart.
“In the Basis of Union we are invited to partner in the mission of God, reconciliation and the renewal of the whole creation.”
He said at Union in 1977 there was a vision of abundant life that Jesus intended for us to enjoy and this remains a strong statement and challenge as we “work to reimagine the future of our Church that holds true to our shared foundational beliefs and our commitment to be a Pilgrim People walking on a common journey.”
“Our covenant to First Peoples remains central to us,” Stuart reflected. “We’re guests on occupied land. At the 14th Assembly in Perth we committed to a conversation regarding sovereignty and what it means for us in practice and committing to educating ourselves as a Church about the need for treaty with our brothers and sisters in Christ.”
One of the major ways the Church is committed to reconciliation is to build a church in Mapoon in Far North Queensland.
“The former Presbyterian mission was the site of a brutal forced resettlement,” explained Stuart. “Our Church has since apologised for our predecessors failure to intervene. Building a new Church at Mapoon is an important act of reconciliation. In the spirit of covenanting and in the spirit of our relationship with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress.”
Colleen Geyer then continued to tell members of Synod about the work of the Assembly noting that: “How we work together and with others shows the importance of our collective efforts to be about God’s mission in the world.”
She went on to outline the work of the Assembly standing for justice with the Councils of our Church, with groups and ministries nationally and ecumenical partners.
“Our joint commitment to people who are refugees and seeking asylum remains a strong example of the many areas of the Uniting Church’s justice work,” continued Colleen. “Our national position statement – Shelter from the Storm – was brought into sharp focus this year as many Uniting Church Congregations and members were involved in the Santuary movement and the #LetThemStay campaign. In support of the 267 asylum seekers in danger of being sent back into forced detention on Nauru.”
“UnitingJustice Australia and Synod staff clearly demonstrated our commitment to hospitality and to welcome.”