Not a ‘one size fits all’ church
To celebrate the Uniting Church in Australia’s 40th anniversary, Anne Empsom shares her changed impressions about variety and interpretation.
When the Uniting Church came into being, I was in year 11 at Methodist Ladies’ College, Burwood. I was not a member of any church but my family had been associated with MLC since 1945 and continue to be so. Rev Ken Cornwell, our Principal, announced to the whole school that the Methodist Church would no longer exist; we were now the Uniting Church.
When I became a Christian at 19, I joined the Anglican Church but over the years I remained closely associated with the Uniting Church through MLC School. In late 2008, I joined the Uniting Church because the theology of the place of women in the Anglican Church did not sit well with me.
My views on the Uniting Church have changed a lot over the years. Before I joined, I used to think that the Uniting Church did not stand for much as it seemed the line between secular and Christian doctrine was blurred and changeable. Having studied a Graduate Diploma in Theology at UTC and spent a few more years as a member of the UCA and part of the MustardSeed Ultimo — an active, growing and vibrant café church — I now see this fluidity as the main strength of the UCA.
The Uniting Church is a church which constantly asks questions and changes as it feels the Spirit move. It examines the meaning behind the Scriptures and views them through a cultural and historical lens to seek God’s message for this place and time. It listens. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ church and there is room for a wide variety of theological viewpoints and types of worship.
Anne Empsom is Synod of NSW and ACT’s Schools Relationship and Governance Manager