How life-giving is the Uniting Church? It’s a pretty big question. I mean, what is a church if it isn’t life-giving?
In a declining church it might be hard for those on the outer to see the life. But for those within it, it can be the source of their joy. As Rev Karyl Davison writes on page 8 of the hard copy of Revive, the church is at its best when it’s living and serving amongst the community. Rev Bronwyn Elvery writes on page 17 that we are perhaps the most life-giving when we are amongst those “on the discarded edges of community.”
When are we not life-giving? Often we hang onto things by a bare thread because we don’t want to lose the joy in something we once had. But when that something becomes a drain on the church or a congregation, it could be best to let it go. At that time and place, it is no longer life-giving. The joy of letting something go is, it’s likely something amazing will jump up in its place.
And what about those people on the outskirts of the church? How does the Uniting Church give life to them? Unfortunately, sometimes we can be cold, judgemental and not willing to understand. But so many in the church are better than that. There are so many people doing awesome work in our community. Organisations like UnitingAid, UnitingCare West, FinUCare and Trinity North Community Care provide love and life to people who often have nowhere else to go. Our schools provide life and guidance to thousands of students in WA – you can read our profile story on page 7 for another education success story. And then there are our humble congregation members who genuinely care about the people they meet in their community and who are there for people in any way they can. There’s a shining example of this on page 10; Shirley Hagboom literally gets stopped in the street for her ministry. Keep an eye out for these stories in the upcoming weeks on Revive online.
On a different note, this edition we were lucky to have a work experience student with us. Sorcha Patchell is in year ten at Applecross Senior High School and is thinking of a career in journalism. She helped us on a number of pieces and was great to have around. You’ll also notice we’ve included a readership survey. Whether you’re a first time reader or have been reading since the days of Western Impact, we want to know what you think about Revive so that we can make it better. Feel free to fill in the hardcopy version, or if snail mail isn’t your thing, fill it out online at https://revivemagazine.org.au/survey.