It’s been a good Assembly. There’s been very respectful listening. I think I experienced that particularly with the Indigenous members of Assembly who I think have played a very creative part in the life of this Assembly.
In terms of my own involvement with the Royal Commission issues, I think the Assembly appreciates the significance of the issue and appreciates that, despite the pain, the Royal Commission has been helpful and necessary for the nation and the Church.
It is interesting to come to the Assembly and meet over 300 people from across Australia. You think you’ll get to see everybody, but of course you don’t, and even after the fifth day you meet people for the first time. But it’s a great opportunity to hear the work of the Church nationally, to hear the issues concerning people in the synods and presbyteries across Australia and then look at some of the big picture issues that are affecting Australian society as a whole. There are a lot of different things to think about and talk about.
It’s all been really overwhelming and I haven’t really had time to process it, but I think the biggest thing that stuck out that I will remember going home is the Uniting Church and Congress partnership and covenant. Coming from a very white part of Melbourne, it’s something I haven’t really been aware of and it’s been really powerful hearing Congress members and learning about the covenant between the Uniting Church and Congress.
Three highlights of Assembly. To see how consensus holds us so that we can begin to have difficult conversations and treat each person with respect. It’s not perfect but I think it create space to be kind to each other. Another highlight was the diversity of languages spoken at Assembly and the glimpses of how we might begin to live out the covenant with the First Peoples. A third highlight was Dr Lin’s lecture on marginality, the incarnation as Divine marginality and marginality as the place from which ministry emerges.
This is my fourth Assembly and it’s been a very interesting Assembly. Members of Assembly are engaging and meet often to discuss proposals coming forward to the Assembly and that’s really good.
I think the CALD communities need to talk to each other a lot more. There’s a possibility that we might be organising a Uniting CALD conference in 2018 so we are really excited. The CALD community is very diverse. We don’t all have the same views but I think we need to learn how to disagree with one another when we come to a national Assembly.
We’re such a diverse Church and we’re alive and well. There’s this really deep desire to care for one another and it’s been a great privilege to hear worship in so many different languages.