SHAPED BY JESUS
Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4:4-30) showed his desire to treat all people, women and men, and of all races and backgrounds equally, connecting across different religious backgrounds and deep questions.
Jesus is a Voice for Equality
Throughout Jesus’ ministry he regularly reached out to women, called women to be his disciples and challenged the barriers that excluded women. The early church continued this tradition of egalitarian openness for many years and the Uniting Church celebrates and affirms the equal gifts of women and men in any position within the Church. We are also committed to enabling those of all ages and of all cultural backgrounds to have an equal voice within the Church.
Central to the life of the Uniting Church is the idea that all of God’s people are gifted and are called to ministry — to serving alongside God in the world — not just a particular group or class of people. The Uniting Church does ordain people as Ministers of the Word and Deacons, as a recognition of a particular calling of God. However our primary commitment to the ministry of all God’s people means that every Council of the Church, and each of our leadership offices within the Church are open to both ordained people and those who are not ordained.
Our desire to hear and honour the voices of all people as we seek to understand God’s calling to us is the basis of our Consensus decision–making system with its focus on mutuality and discernment together under the Spirit’s guidance.
Jesus is the Welcomer of Doubters
Whether coaching his disciples for their lack of faith; healing the child of the man who cried out “Lord, I believe! Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24); or stretching out his hands to “Doubting Thomas” (John 20: 24-29), Jesus was never afraid of those who needed to ask questions or to live with doubts. The Uniting Church aims to be a place which follows Jesus' lead, to be a safe and welcome place for those who are exploring faith and for those with questions.
Our foundational document, the Basis of Union celebrates our gratefulness for and openness to scholarship and inquiry. It challenges us to believe that “contemporary thought” may enable us to “sharpen [our] understanding of the will and purpose of God” and that “contemporary societies” may help the Church “to understand its own nature and mission”.
A primary understanding of the Uniting Church is that we are “a pilgrim people”. We are “always on the way towards a promised goal” and we seek out those who would journey along with us in discovery and joy.
Find out more about Growing in Faith