About the Uniting Church
The Uniting Church in Australia is a union of three Christian Churches: the Congregational Union of Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia and the Presbyterian Church of Australia, which formed in 1977.
The Uniting Church is the third largest Christian denomination in Australia, with around 2,800 congregations, 51 presbyteries (regional councils of the church) and seven synods (state/territory councils). 300,000 people are members of the Church, and 1.3 million Australians claim an association. The Uniting Church is a multi-cultural Church, with 5-7 per cent of members worshipping in languages other than English, in 25 different language groupings plus various Aboriginal tribal languages. The Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress is the Aboriginal arm of the Church, with 10,000 to 15,000 Aboriginal and Islander people involved.
The Uniting Church’s founding document, the Basis of Union, sets out the Church’s beliefs, way of living and being.
The Uniting Church has a history of commitment to those in need, standing alongside them in day-to-day ministry as well as through engagement in the political arena. The Church has taken a stand on environmental issues, and supports the equality and dignity of marginalised people such as ethnic minorities, disabled people and homosexual people.
What the Uniting Church has said about Ecology
The Uniting Church has a commitment to the environment, both because social justice and the integrity of the environment are linked, and because the environment has intrinsic value.
We believe that God, as the Creator of the universe, calls humanity into a relationship of mutuality and interdependence with the Creation. God’s will for the Earth is renewal and reconciliation, not destruction by human beings.
We are particularly concerned about human-induced climate change. Climate change is a serious threat to the integrity of life on Earth, now and for future generations. We are especially engaged in supporting our vulnerable neighbours in the Pacific.
Interlinked crises (including climate change, militarism, the energy crisis, the food crisis, and the global financial crisis) confront human and ecological wellbeing, and are deeply rooted in our social, political, and economic systems. In all the ways that we live and interact in this world, we are called to participate in a vision of flourishing, abundant life, of peace and reconciliation, justice and transformation, love and inclusion for all creation.
Among local church congregations, ecological awareness and action are growing. Examples of the diversity of church-based activity include:
- Observance of key ecological and environmental occasions in worship life (e.g. World Environment Day, St Francis of Assisi Day, Evolution Sunday, Season of Creation)
- A deepening ecological engagement throughout the seasons of the church (e.g. Lent, Easter, Advent, Christmas)
- Small group activities and children’s programs concerning ecology
- New forms of faith community (e.g. the Ecofaith community, which meets for outdoor worship)
- Energy and water audits of church properties, and modifications to buildings to improve their resource efficiency (e.g. installation of water tanks, solar electricity, solar hot water)
- Public film showings and seminars on ecological themes
- Ecologically-themed fairs and fetes
- Native, indigenous and community gardens
- Bush regeneration activities
- Food cooperatives and community supported agriculture
- Possessions sharing initiatives (e.g. car sharing)
- Collaboration with local community environment groups on local events and campaigns
Uniting Church and Engagement with Other Faiths
As a Church that is a union of three different denominations, the Uniting Church is deeply committed to ecumenism – dialogue and collaboration across Christian denominations. The Church is an active member of the National Council of Churches in Australia and the World Council of Churches. The church seeks to live with understanding, peace and harmony with people of other faiths, and is guided in this role by its National Working Group on Relations with Other Faiths.