The installation of Stuart McMillan as 14th President of the Uniting Church provided a joyous highlight for the opening weekend of the church’s 14th Triennial Assembly in Perth. The Assembly, with its theme of “Hearts on Fire” runs every day this week and concludes on Saturday 18th July.
Stuart McMillan who has worked with Aboriginal people in northern Australia for more than 30 years, was led to the stage by members of an Arnhem Land choir as they performed traditional dance and song. Stuart wore some traditional dress of the Yolngu people, whose clan Stuart was adopted into during his life in the Northern Territory.
In his installation address, the new President invited Church members to let the Holy Spirit rekindle the flame of God’s love in their lives. He referred to a number of references in hymns and the bible which reflected on the significance of fire and flame as a symbol of love.
The President highlighted the importance of compassion in Christian faith, citing the plight of detention centres and the good outcomes that eventuate from compassionate acts of protest. He continued by highlighting the important work the Church achieves when “we come together in the name of Christ”, referring to UnitingCare Queensland’s crisis assistance in the Northern Territory and the formation of the Uniting Church’s Australian Regional Remote Community Services as living examples of the “amazing things” the Church can do.
Reflecting the diversity of today’s Uniting Church, bible readings at the service were read in four different languages, Tongan, Korean, Yolngu and Greek.
Below is a video of the installation service and you can read the full transcript of Stuart’s address here.
The installation service launched a week in which Assembly representatives will set the Uniting Church’s national priorities for the next three years with 300 members from across Australia gathering in Perth to discuss and discern proposals. Some sessions will be live streamed and you can subscribe to a daily newsletter here.
Crosslight has journalists attending who will also continue to report highlights from the Assembly.