Humans of the Uniting Church
Rev Kath Behan
November 8, 2023
This year, we’re excited to be featuring some of the inspirational people who make up the Uniting Church. Check out the growing hub of stories here. If you know of someone with a great story to tell, contact us and nominate them to be featured.
We catch up with Rev Kath Behan who has just commenced as National Consultant with the Uniting Church Assembly, along with Rev Dr Sunny Chen. Meet them both this week!
"...that we could reconnect and reaffirm the ‘basis of our union’ together in Christ, in a way that is both rugged and tenacious, compassionate and gracious..."
I grew up in a Christian family following my parents’ Methodist background. Growing up in Townsville, North Qld, our experience of Christian community was ‘uniting’ even before Union came into being, with ecumenical and wider community connections part of the fabric of life in a regional city.
I had the privilege of worshipping and being discipled within different UCA experiences, ranging from conservative to charismatic, and including the opportunities to participate in youth ministry and the camping movement, faith formation, worship and preaching, church planting and community engagement.
Following this early period of discipleship and faith formation, I then relocated to Victoria and NSW, where I lived and worked as a teacher, and had the privilege of experiencing faith formation in more diverse contexts, and where I discerned a call to ordained ministry.
My faith in Jesus has been enlivened throughout all these experiences, as I’ve come to deeply appreciate the challenging of my faith and theology as part of what it means to be in community with others.
For me, this is the aspect of the ‘Uniting Church’ ideal that I’m most passionate about – that daring and audacious ambition that in committing ourselves to one another through Jesus, we are committing ourselves to the vulnerable yet life-giving call of Christ to love. When we choose to do this, we are choosing the way of honesty and hospitality with one another, recognizing that we only ever see in part and that we need each other to see more fully.
This would be my deepest hope for the church, and for what I would hope for my role within the Assembly – that we could reconnect and reaffirm the ‘basis of our union’ together in Christ, in a way that is both rugged and tenacious, compassionate and gracious, such that we choose to walk together following the call of Christ and are transformed by knowing each other.
It takes courage to be in community with each other as Jesus modelled for us. It costs us to truly listen and hear where each of us is coming from. But it is also a profoundly life-giving endeavour and is the gift that the church can be to the world around us – a community of richness in both our diversity and in our collective commitment; a community of hospitality, generosity of spirit, and above all love that seeks the best for others.
I am looking forward to building relationships, sharing the stories of the church widely, and helping to facilitate the bringing together of diverse parts of the church around the table of Christ, that we might experience and reflect God’s communal dance of father, son and spirit together. And in so doing, we might be a signpost, a place of welcome, a prophetic hope for a different way to live.