A motion introduced at Assembly will call on the Uniting Church to renew how it expresses its faith.
“[W]e propose that the UCA listen to and formally receive the wisdom of churches similarly moving out of Christendom and facing opportunities and challenges which were unknown to our Christendom forbears,” the proposal reads.
“The outcome of such a process could be the formal recognition of a collection of ‘Continuing Witnesses’.”
The motion also calls for the establishment of a working group to consider fresh ways to state the Uniting Church’s faith in light of contemporary theological scholarship and new challenges faced in a post-Christendom context.
Part of this work would include researching other denominations’ contemporary expressions of faith.
While the group would consider these other denominations’ statements, they would not be bound to accept all of their conclusions.
“As the UCA has now passed into both its fifth decade, and into a post-Christendom context, it is arguable that it is an appropriate time to consider how we might listen and learn from other contemporary witnesses from contexts other than our own,” the proposal says.
“Deliberately listening to their wisdom as they seek to confess the faith in their circumstances (which may not necessarily mirror ours) can be salutary and instructive for us in our circumstances.”
The proposal lists the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s 1983 Brief Statement of Faith, A Gift of Love, which is a collection of 16 sermons by Martin Luther King Jr and Kupu Whakapono, the Confession of Faith adopted in 2010 by the Presbyterian Church of Aoteraroa New Zealand.
The working group would bring relevant follow-up proposals to the next Assembly meeting.
Pilgrim Theological College’s Rev. Dr Geoff Thompson will introduce the motion, with Rachel Kronberger seconding.
Rev. Dr Thompson told Insights that he hopes the proposal will, “In a small way, to develop a shared and constructive theological conversation about how we learn from others to confess Jesus Christ in ‘fresh words and deeds.’”
The Assembly marks a big week for Rev. Dr Thompson, who will also be keynote speaker at School of Discipleship 2018.
The triennial assembly meeting takes place in Melbourne from 8-14 July. For more information, visit the event website here.
Jonathan Foye is Insights’ Editor