The Uniting Church in Victoria, Australia is the first church created in and of Australia and the third-largest Christian denomination in the country. During Sundays, plenty of congregations gather to worship in the churches that you can find in both major cities and outback areas in the state.
While every congregation is different from the other, each is a community in which people seek to know and follow God, share and strengthen their faith, care for each other, serve the local community, and find genuine happiness.
Continue reading to learn more about this engaging church.
The Belief of the Uniting Church
The belief of the Uniting Church came from the Bible, the Apostles’ Creed, and the Nicene Creed. The Church heeded the Reformation Witness in the Scots Confession of Faith, the Savoy Declaration, and the preaching of John Wesley in his Forty-Four Sermons. The UCA’s Basis of Union brought together aspects of writings and traditions and set out the church’s way of living and being.
With the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Uniting Church believes that God brings believers into the right relationship with Him. By their faith, they can have a close, loving, and dynamic relationship with the living God; they can participate in the worshipping, as well as caring for and serving the community of Christians.
Through their belief, they receive God’s gifts and live the life God means it to be—loving, purposeful, joyful, and eternal. Also, they tell others of this good news and live it out in acts of compassion and service in the community.
A Short Account of Its History
After the union of the three denominations (Congregational Union in Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia, and the Presbyterian Church of Australia), the Uniting Church came into being on 22 June 1977.
The members of the three denominations testified that this union is both Christ’s gift and will for the Church.
The members of the Uniting Church in Victoria, Australia walk together with God through the following affirmations:
- Preaching Christ, the risen crucified one, and confessing Him as Lord;
- Revealing the unity of faith and life in Christ;
- Exceeding cultural, economic, national, and racial boundaries;
- Engaging in fearless prophetic ministry concerning social evils which deny God’s active will for justice and peace;
- Acting with God alongside the oppressed, the hurt, and the poor;
- Making good use of the church resources in Australia for the benefit of all members of the community;
- Recognising, treasuring, and using the gifts of the Spirit given to all God’s people for ministering; and
- Living a creative, adventurous life of faith, which characterises openness, flexibility, hope, and joy.
How Believers Put Their Faith into Action
While the Uniting Church’s faith has drawn into controversial situations, the believers’ commitment to the love of God and neighbour has become stronger. They have been at the forefront of Aboriginal rights issues, which includes the Native Title debate and reconciliation.
As a multicultural church, they take a stand on environmental issues and support the equality and dignity of marginalised people (e.g., ethnic minorities, disabled people, and homosexual people). They strive to treat people on an equal basis and seek to give a voice to the outcast, poor, and needy.
Some of the Uniting Church’s disciples, however, are not viewed in public, including its role to stand alongside the individual, inside and outside the church. Moreover, the congregations of the church nurture spiritual, social, and educational growth. Lay people take on the leadership roles, including preaching of the Word and leading the congregational worship.
Other Things that You Need to Know About the Church
Their social justice advocacy work and community welfare services express their belief that God is committed to living now. It is their response to the Bible’s call to care for and protect the marginalised and vulnerable. Some of the issues they help address include the environment, the treatment and care of prisoners, religious intolerance, inadequate gambling legislation, fair employment practices, multi- and cross-cultural issues, many others.
Through Uniting Care, the Uniting Church in Victoria, Australia is the largest non-government provider of community services in the country. The community services that they provide include aged care, disability, children, youth and family, employment, emergency relief, drug and alcohol, and youth homelessness and suicide.
A key component of Church’s justice work is their efforts to bring indigenous and non-indigenous Australians together and support the entire community generally. Some of the activities they engage into include reconciliation, land rights, and leadership training, promoting spiritual, physical, social, mental, and emotional wellbeing of indigenous Australians.
What’s More to Know?
Today, the Uniting Church in Victoria, Australia continues to share their belief and to strenghten the faith of their growing community. If you wish to be part of the dynamic church, or if you want to get more church resources in Australia, feel free reach out to Jim de Jong. We are more than happy to assist you with your walk with Christ.