I often hear people in the Uniting Church talking about the denomination they were part of before the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational churches combined to form the one church. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing, we all draw on our pasts as the formation of who we are.
I, however, wasn’t around yet when the Uniting Church was formed, so I don’t remember the journey to Union, or the celebration. I was raised in this church though, born five years after Union; I guess you could call me a Uniting Church baby.
As a small child, I spent Easter camps at Daybreak Camp Farm building mud creations and running through gullies. I remember walking across fields and over rocks to a morning tea of hot cross buns. I attended KUCA Camps (now KCO) and waited eagerly each year for them to come around, much like my son does now. A huge highlight of KUCA for me, and I’m sure others, was the KUCA ‘radio station’ where we could ‘shout out’ to our friends and congregations.
I had meals and went on excursions with the boarders at Wesley College, where my dad worked, and was taken along to all sorts of Uniting Church events. And I remember watching my older brothers attend Children at Synod and Easter Camps, and then finally being old enough to attend myself. This, however, is probably about the time I started to stray from the church – not to say these life forming events ever left me.
What I like about the Uniting Church is that I’m often able to challenge Christian stereotypes of what my non-churched friends think Christians believe. Many are surprised to hear how welcoming we can be or that we are willing to have some difficult conversations. Of course, we aren’t perfect.
So here we are, celebrating 40 years of the Uniting Church. Forty years being more than my lifetime, it’s a bit hard to really understand what went on around 1977, but I do know that I am from a generation that has benefited from this union.
In this edition of Revive, we’re celebrating those 40 years, looking back, to the present and to the future. I hope you enjoy it and can spend some time reminiscing yourself, before pondering on some of the big questions about where we are now, and where our church could be heading.
Heather Dowling, Editor, Revive magazine