December 21, 2022
What's Your Uniting Church Story?
Throughout this year, we have included a question at the end of the newsletter inviting you to tell us about your Uniting Church story or to share on the themes and stories we have included from week to week. Thank you to those readers who took the opportunity to respond. Here’s a short selection of fantastic replies we received.
Pat Rivett from Ferntree Gully Uniting in Victoria writes,
My background is from a Churches of Christ upbringing. However, as I got older, there was something missing. There was a Uniting Church quite near us, so I ventured into that one day, as I had a great regard for the Uniting Church as being open, inclusive, not afraid to think and not dogmatic.
I’ve been there now for at least 30 years now, and have not been let down. Women ministers, social justice issues and being brave enough to publicly demonstrate for them, same gender ministers and acceptance of all gender types, and such institutes as Uniting, are just some of the things that I love about the Uniting Church in the past, and into the future.
After reading the story by Richard La’Brooy on the inauguration of the Uniting Church, Rev Dr Robert Johnson shares this memory.
I enjoyed Richard La’Brooy’s article about the defining moment of the Uniting Church in Australia coming into being, however he leaves out what was to me the most important part of the events of the Inauguration of the UCA.
The defining moment and the one which will always remain in my memory is the meeting which was held in the Lyceum Theatre during the day of 22 June, 1977, where the UCA was simply and formally inaugurated. I could write a lot about that, but the most memorable moment was when Rev Dr Harold Wood rose to pray. I and many others have said that we felt lifted into a different spiritual realm as Dr Wood led us in in an extemporaneous prayer which gave thanks for the churches which brought us into the UCA, and for the future of the UCA
Then in the evening we went to the Sydney Town Hall for a great service of thanksgiving - broadcast live on ABC television.
We found the prayer by Rev Dr Harold Wood! Read it here
Rev Sally Apokis from South Melbourne writes:
As a 15-year-old from Ringwood Methodist Church, I have happy memories of proudly marching, celebrating the formation of the Uniting Church in 1977. The strong beliefs and values of the UCA, Trinitarian, missiological in equity, inclusion and diversity embedded in Australian identity and the gospel of a radical reforming Jesus Christ, have guided me all the days of my rich life of service and ministry.
In response to our series on an Intercultural Church, retired minister Rev Anneli Sinkko, penned this poem/prayer.
Sometimes I think
And thinking is Dangerous
Why am I here?
A person of water and snow and trees and berries and flowers and lakes – what on earth am I doing here?
A land so dry and alien – full of deserts and trees that fall on you and kill!
And sea so vast you cannot see
Where it ends
Why am I here?
But here I am – thrown in by
Fate or God
Praying, knowing, understanding it was not a Divine mistake but a gift from God
To be here
No longer gum trees look like silver birches
Like they did
When I gazed them through my tears
And the landscape does not try to kill me
But challenges me to live
To love and to excel
Exactly as my God does
Rev Anneli Sinkko, Queensland.