Forty years in the wilderness



Not a celebration of the fortieth anniversary of the Uniting Church in Australia, but rather a note on its passing.

You reckon it a fair achievement

to exist for forty years as church.

You took a stance

on the side of the widows

and the poor;

made it your mission

(so to speak),

your brand

(so to speak)

and you sat in solemn assemblies

and issued statements,


and reasoned ”positions”.

But the rich got obscenely richer

and the poor got scandalously poorer,

and nature went to pot,

and words of justice

were swamped in policy

and strategy.


For forty years you said

you were uniting

while unity slipped your grasp.

A bit of incorporation here and there,

when money and property

called the shots;

and an occasional

bit of ecumenism

with care not to mention the war

of words

and differences that once

made our blood run hot.

And, of course, you loved

the inter-faith thing.

What better way to fly the flag

of tolerance when you can’t

make up your mind

about anything

except the vaunted virtue

of indecision.


Will you survive for another forty years

in our Australian wilderness?


You will take on new forms

and find new words to

brand decline as triumph

and as ”the will of God”.

There is no lack

of cleverness

amongst your ranks.

What lacks is the will

to walk the walk.


Just in case you feel the need,

here are a few tag lines for

marketing over the next forty years

(some a little soiled from previous use).

Feel free to change them regularly

and refresh them in the light of

new understandings and new learnings.


  • Size is not everything.
  • Small is beautiful.
  • God loves a remnant.
  • Your property is our opportunity.
  • When all else fails, try church.
  • We are a gluten-free church (no rising here).
  • Forgive and forget.
  • Navel-gazers Inc.
  • Followers of the nicest guy that ever was.
  • We talk the talk.
  • The home of the bloodless Christ.
  • Your home between overseas trips.
  • Aussie, Aussie round the table!
  • Good mates of The State.
  • Discerners Inc.

And here are a few tag lines not recommended:

  • Jesus Saves!
  • Forgiveness for all.
  • The prayerful mob.
  • Followers of *The* *Way*
  • Children of God.
  • Love conquers all
  • Long live the Jesus revolution!


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One Response to “Forty years in the wilderness”

  1. Alan English

    “Row brothers, Row. man shall labour ever more, yon is the shore, Row brothers Row”