Embodying Fresh Words and Deeds
In the Assembly most recent Strategic Plan, there are four pillars describing centres of future work and development needed in order to enable the Church to move boldly and confidently into the future. These four strategic areas are: Identity, Innovation, Intercultural and Intergenerational. Each month we plan to tell stories focussing on one of these areas and for March, we want to highlight Innovation!
The many members of Congregational, Presbyterian and Methodist congregations of the 70’s who chose to come together in the Uniting Church were true pioneers. The creation of this new, Australian church was bold — former President Andrew Dutney describes Union as a ‘risky’ move — but those founding members of the UCA felt that their obedience to the calling of God required this step of faith.
Since 1977 the Uniting Church has regularly been challenged to think creatively about how to respond to the calling of God. As a Church, we have often been involved in conversations or activities which have taken us out of our comfort zone, such as enshrining acknowledgement of First Peoples in our constitution, having difficult conversations about human sexuality or operating the first medically supervised injecting centre in the Southern Hemisphere. The Uniting Church constantly seeks to be open to the renewal Christ brings, ever praying, as the Basis of Union puts it, “that it may be ready when occasion demands to confess the Lord in fresh words and deeds”. Innovation is also one of six core identified by the Assembly to guide our work.
That openness to innovation which has been part of our DNA for almost 44 years is all the more necessary today, as we strive to address issues of inequality, racial injustice and the need to strengthen our society in a world where hyper–individuality and fragmentation seem rife. Our calling to act for justice, and to proclaim God’s love through Christ to a world needing hope will require our utmost creativity and inventiveness, our imagination and willingness to experiment, and above all, our prayer and openness to the inspiration of the Spirit! We look forward this month to sharing encouraging stories of innovation with you.