Making decisions amid God’s abundant grace

Uniting Church members from around Australia will come together in prayerful community at Box Hill Town Hall in July for the 15th Triennial Assembly meeting.

On Sunday 8 July, members of the 15th Assembly will install Dr Deidre Palmer as President, the second woman in the history of the Uniting Church to hold this leadership position. Deirdre has chosen ‘Abundant Grace Liberating Hope’ as the theme for the Assembly and the triennium. Read more about Deidre in our profile story here.

Deidre will be installed as President in a service at St Michaels Collins Street Uniting Church on the first night of the Assembly meeting. From Monday 9 July, the Assembly’s 265 members drawn  from across the councils of the church will decide the church’s national priorities for the next three years. The first tranche of reports and proposals were sent to members at the end of April. They cover a dauntingly diverse set of issues.

The Uniting Church’s response to the Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse, the challenge of domestic and family violence, and the continuing conversation on Indigenous sovereignty in light of the Covenant relationship between the Uniting Church in Australia and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress will all be topics discussed at the meeting.

There will also be a landmark statement encouraging action and advocacy on Climate Change and a consultation process proposed regarding voluntary assisted dying. Assembly members will also consider a report and proposals on marriage and same-gender relationships. More reports and proposals will be published in the weeks ahead.

Big conversations aside, the week long meeting is a festival of all things Uniting Church. Assembly Agencies such as UnitingCare Australia, UnitingWorld, Frontier Services and other Assembly groups will have a marketplace of information stalls at the venue.

There will also be two public lectures.

The first hosted by the Uniting Church National History Society on Saturday 7 July from Prof Stewart Gill, Master of Queen’s College, Melbourne on ‘No Gods and Precious Few Heroes: Why We Need to Remember Our History’.

The Cato Lecture, a regular feature of every Assembly meeting, will be delivered on Wednesday 11 July by Bishop Ken Carter of the United Methodist Church in the US state of Florida.

Daily Bible studies will have a Pacific flavour led by Rev Dr Sef Carroll of UnitingWorld and Rev James Bhagwan of the Methodist Church in Fiji in line with the focus on climate justice. The worship program is being co-ordinated by Rev Ian Ferguson of Brunswick Uniting Church.

Follow what’s happening in the lead-up to the Assembly on the website http://uniting.church and register for regular updates.

The 15th Assembly will be the first to attempt to go paperless. All proposals, reports and timetables will be provided to members’ mobile devices using the Crowd Compass app. Uniting Church members have also been invited to join in 40 days of prayer before the Assembly meeting from Tuesday 29 May.

Matt Pulford

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