Youth talk: UCA revival
Insights is shining the light on the youth voices of our Synod. Expect to read more on what the future of UCA and faith looks like from some of young leaders and members of the church. Below is the first quick Q&A with Tonga Parish member Malia Puna.
What do you hope for the future of the Uniting Church?
My hope for the future of the UCA regarding the youth is that ultimately the youth can truly know (be informed), worship (be formed as Christians) and love God (be transformed)! I think; once we’ve got those basics down packed; the future of the church’s youth will automatically flourish. Hence, there is hope that the church’s youth can get involved in the present rather than just ‘waiting’ for the future. So basically; there is hope that the church can recognize the youth’s skills and talents to be utilized now rather than later. [If not it’ll be] never because the youth may have lost interest in the church. I remember going to Assembly and meeting a lovely young lady who was actually chair of their presbytery (Yes, she was in her early 20s!). Yes, we’ve heard the cliché that ‘the church is dying’, but why not utilize the youth to revive the ‘dying parts’ of the church.
Would you like to see a change in the way we worship? If so how?
I think worship in the UCA is beautiful as it is in regards to it’s flexibility through the ‘ordered liberty of worship’. So, really, this question is not black and white as worship doesn’t look the same in every UCA congregation. I’ve seen creative ways of worship with exposure to Synod gatherings and other special events. I remember sitting at particular worship services and questioned, “Wait… we’re allowed to do that?”, or reacted with a “Oh, that was just beautiful!” These are creative ways to spiritually wake people up.
I think it would be great to share these creative approaches to ‘worship at church’ not so much to emphasize on the aspect of change but to influence and impact the very essence of worship. So ultimately, I’d like to see worship develop with the time and context. I’d like to see worship adaptable to the context, people and environment. Not that anything is wrong with the traditional, conservative and orthodox way of worship; but it’s looking at the relevance to the context. Hence overall, worship should be developed and reworked to genuinely hone in the very essence of fostering that genuine encounter with God; which will look and sound different across our church. We just need to be empowered to do so.
Pictured: (Left) Rev Valamotu Palu and Malia Puna.
Malia Puna Sydney Presbytery, Tonga Parish (Ashfield).