What 40 years of uniting means to me
To celebrate the Uniting Church in Australia’s 40th anniversary, Margaret Pengilly from Cowra Uniting Church provides her personal reflection on spending about half her life in the UCA.
I have been very fortunate, to have been part of a worshipping Congregation for all of my nearly 80 years, first the Methodist Church, and then for the past 40 years, in the Uniting Church.
I think about those early years with much affection. They seemed to me to have been the best years of my life. In my teenage years, we were blessed with a minister who had wonderful gifts that he used to foster the love of Jesus in the lives of the young people. We went along to the Methodist Girls Comrades (MGCs) and Order of Knights (OKs), then I met and married my husband in our Cowra Methodist Church, and together we have been able to worship and serve our Lord.
Then in 1967 the Church was faced with the challenge of changing its name and identity from ‘The Methodist Church’ to ‘The Uniting Church’. For me personally, this was a time of great sadness and bereavement. I loved my Church and although I recognised that change would have to come, I wasn’t very happy about it. I did vote for it, though, and prayed that we were all doing the right thing.
We moved on… Our children were very blessed with being able to attend a vibrant Youth Group, a large Sunday School and Christian Endeavour group, and giving their lives and hearts to the Lord themselves. Then, it seemed our church went through another great deal of challenge and change; the young people all began to leave, as they went to the cities to further their education.
We moved on… For the last 10 years, we have been one of a growing number of churches in our Presbytery who have become a ‘Lay-led’ congregation, ministering to very few young people and quite a number in the ‘over 70’ bracket, becoming a happy and vibrant church community.
We moved on… and found an important mission to our town community. Along with a lot of other towns in the State, our church in Cowra provides a weekly Food Hall program, providing food and fellowship at affordable prices for those in need. We are working together to be the Church in this place — The Uniting Church — 40 years on!!
We must move on… Whenever the people of the Uniting Church see visions and dream dreams to bring about God’s love and peace in the world, working together, supporting each other, (whether with ministerial appointment or Lay-led), I see it can do great things for our Lord.
There has never been a more challenging time in the history of our country than now to be faithful witnesses to Jesus Christ, and the Uniting Church must be there at the forefront.
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