This month, members of the Uniting Church will meet in Perth for the 14th national triennial Assembly meeting. More than 60 reports and proposals will be considered by Assembly throughout the six days. Rohan Salmond, editor with the Queensland synod, has put together eight highlights of the meeting.
- Anglican–Uniting Church dialogue
Assembly Standing Committee commends the adoption of the Weaving a New Cloth document, which advocates local cooperation between Anglican and Uniting churches throughout Australia.
- The Royal Commission
The chair of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse Justice Peter McClellan AM will address the Assembly on 15 July. Later, Assembly Standing Committee will ask for authority to make any changes to Uniting Church Regulations required to respond to the Royal Commission without having to wait for the next full Assembly meeting.
In response to the Discussion Paper on Marriage submissions, Assembly Standing Committee proposes further exploration on how multicultural groups can engage in further discussions on same-sex sexuality in culturally appropriate ways and establish a task group investigating the implications of changing the Church’s current relationship with the government regarding marriage. Another proposal by two Queensland ministers is asking the Assembly to reject public covenants for same-gender unions.
- Annual week of prayer and fasting
The Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) would like the week of prayer and fasting observed during the Destiny Together demonstration to become an annual event.
- Living out the Covenant
The UAICC also proposes a higher degree of scrutiny for issues affecting First Peoples, continued work on how councils of the Church can give authority to Congress and support for Congress’ opposition to fracking on Aboriginal land.
- Necessity of synods
The Presbytery of the Illawarra suggests the Uniting Church is over governed and wishes to authorise Standing Committee to commence a review into Uniting Church governance, specifically with an eye to whether synods are really necessary to the life of the Church.
- Asylum seekers and refugees
UnitingJustice has an extensive proposal calling Uniting Church members to advocate for asylum seekers and refugees and to demand the Australian Government end offshore processing.
Andrew Dutney and Felicity Amery propose an awareness-raising campaign about the plight of Christians in the Holy Land, and to determine the Uniting Church response to requests for action from the World Council of Churches and Palestinian Christians.
A full list of proposals and reports can be found at assembly2015.uca.org.au/proposals-and-reports
A 14th Assembly e-newsletter will be distributed towards the end of every day around 8pm WST (10pm AEST). Keep informed by signing up to the Assembly’s mailing list at uca.org.au. Crosslight will bring you a full report on Assembly in the August edition.
You can follow Assembly on Twitter throughout the meeting using the hashtags #heartsonfire and #14thAssembly.