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Global Partners: Australia

Tuesday August 2 2022

Continuing the series of updates from Church of Scotland partner churches around the world with the Uniting Church in Australia, which is grappling with the country's colonial history and relationship with First Nations people.

At the Uniting Church in Australia's recent Assembly, the Second Peoples of the Uniting Church offered a prayer of confession to the First Peoples before renewing the covenant between the Church and the Uniting Aboriginal Congress

The Uniting Church in Australia

Number of Congregations: 1,748

Number of ministers: 1,955 (approx.)

Number of members: 673,260 claimed to be Uniting Church in the 2020 Australian census, about 52,000 people would worship regularly in an Uniting Church.

What is your connection with the Church of Scotland?
The Uniting Church in Australia was formed in 1977 with a merger of The Methodist Church of Australasia and many Presbyterian  and Congregational churches in Australia. The Church of Scotland was the home church of many people who settled in Australia after 1788 and who joined the Presbyterian Church after moving here.

What does this partnership mean to you today?
It is a connection to our history, which is both blessing and burden and a contemporary source of challenge and hope as we are able to see you face many of the same challenges we do. Once the Church of Scotland would have been thought of a parent, now we are friends and fellow travellers

What is your biggest challenge as a Church?
To live out the covenant between the Uniting Aboriginal Congress (Congress) and Second Peoples of the Uniting Church. This means honouring the sovereignty of Congress and allowing them to be self-determine in all matters to do with their life together and their ministry with and for First Nations people. It means Second Peoples have to repent of their racism, face the ongoing impacts of being a colonial nation and learn new ways to walk together with Congress so that we grow together, shaped by Indigenous wisdom and ways of working.

What is your main focus over the next two to three years? 
A major review of the Councils, polity and practices of the Uniting Church so that they better equip gathered communities of faith for their worship, witness, service and discipleship making and support our ministry of service and advocacy in the Australian community. This will involve honest conversations about the current situation of the Uniting Church and a willingness to reconsider all of our structures and practices.

The Rev Sharon Hollis, President of the Uniting Church in Australia

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Global Partners: updates from Church of Scotland partners around the world

Presbyterian Church of Myanmar
Uniting Presbyterian Church in Southern Africa
Iglesia Evangélica Española (Spain)
Church of Bangladesh