At Synod 2019 the theme was ‘Living Church’ and throughout the event, we asked people what the Uniting Church meant to them and how they felt their Uniting Church was a Church living out the call of the Gospel and growing in its impact in the community.
Normanhurst Uniting Church
At Synod this year we talked to a lot of different people throughout the meeting about some of the things about the Uniting Church that mattered to them. The focus of the Synod was about how we can have more impact in areas that matter to God like social justice, inequity, climate change and community engagement.
In response to the questions we asked about how the Church could grow in impact in the community, value the voices of young people and what as a Church we should focus our attention on, we had some amazing responses:
To grow in impact we need to be very outward-looking and going out with a modern message and a message that is relevant to the lives of the people we’re speaking to. It’s very easy to sit on a Sunday and that which is familiar to us, but it doesn’t mean anything to the average person in the street who doesn’t ever come to church.
If we want to be relevant to young people, the first thing we should do is not go back to our old traditional ways and say ‘in my day this happened…’, but to treat young people with respect, and understand that they have their lives to live and we could be here with some experience of life to encourage and support.
We must enable young people to be free to express their faith and their lives in their own way.
I feel there is urgency around climate change and asylum seekers and I’m reminded of the saying that ‘whatever we are prepared to walk by and not comment upon, is the standard we have accepted’ and that cuts deeply with me and as a Christian church there is much action that we should be taking.
Rev. Vinnie Ravetali
Chaplain, MLC School
I think if we collaborate more within Presbyteries and Councils and talk to each more I think that would be one of the ways in which we could grow as a Church.
I think one of the things we can do better is to advocate who we are as a Uniting Church. And this is not only to our schools but to the younger generation in whatever, way or form or shape that we can do, both locally within our Congregations and outside our Congregations or in society as a whole, and also to take up opportunities that are already in our Church. For example, in our schools, we can demonstrate who we are and who we say we are as the Church.
We should be proud that we are a Uniting Church!
We are as a Church already doing a lot of things in the advocacy space. For me personally, it is asylum seekers. I suppose as someone who is from another part of the world, my heart is with asylum seekers.