Act2 is a major transformational change project focused on shaping the future of the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA). As part of the Act2 Project, every Uniting Church member, council and community is being invited to take part.
We’ve contributed our perspective through a written submission, and in an online forum where we were joined by international partners. Rev Dr Cliff Bird from the United Church in the Solomon Islands (UCSI) was a panellist in the forum and shared some generous feedback about what partnership with the UCA has meant to UCSI.
“Our understanding of mission has evolved since we entered into partnership with the Uniting Church in Australia. It has been broadened and enriched as it has moved from a narrowly spiritualistic understanding to a more holistic understanding,” he said. “We now share a greater focus on practical concerns like ending poverty and violence against women and taking faithful action on climate change. These were not seen as core business of the church, but now they are part of our life and understanding of what it means to follow Jesus.”
Rev Dr Bird also pointed to how the partnership has strengthened UCSI as an institution. “Our decision-making processes have improved along with our ability to look inwardly. It has resulted in us becoming more accountable and transparent and create more rigorous policies and procedures. We’re so grateful to be able to share knowledge and expertise, stories and resources back and forth with our partners in Australia as elsewhere.”
In our written submission to Act2, we highlighted some strengths of the UCA and major challenges as we see it. We also provided some ideas for change and how we and our international partners could help:
“As Christianity becomes a minority faith in an increasingly diverse and secular Australia, we have much to learn from our partner churches who come from multifaith contexts, and who fight poverty and injustice with dogged determination without diluting their identity as Christians or being reticent about sharing God’s desire to know and love all people.”
You can read our full submission here.
You can watch the recording of the online International Partnerships and Ecumenical Relationships forum here or read a reflection/summary of the discussions here.
If you’re reading this, you care about the mission of the Uniting Church – please contribute your thoughts and ideas to the Act2 project. Discerning the shape of the UCA in future needs all the wisdom we can gather.
Find out more about the Act2 Project and how you can engage at www.act2uca.com.