From its beginning the Uniting Church in Australia has actively sought to establish mutually affirming relationships with The First People.
The formation of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Congress (UAICC or Congress, as it is more commonly known) in 1985 was a significant event and places control of Aboriginal congregations and services in the Synod in the hands of Aboriginal people.
Congress seeks to unite in one fellowship all Aboriginal and Islander Christians who have accepted Jesus Christ as Lord, accept the authority of the Scriptures and desire to follow and serve Christ as his disciples.
It is made up of Aboriginal and Islander people seeking to fulfil their calling as Christians among their own people, especially in the area of holistic community development. It determines its own goals and objectives, and runs its own programs and institutions.
Congress aims, in collaboration with other people, to bring to an end the injustices which hold Aboriginal and Islander people at the fringes of Australian society and to help Aboriginal and Islander people achieve spiritual, economic, social and cultural independence.
Covenanting is the Uniting Church's word for the process of reconciliation with Indigenous people.
In 1994 a Covenant was made between the Uniting Church in Australia and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC/Congress). The Covenant is a solemn commitment by the Uniting Church to act in solidarity with the Congress and Indigenous people. It is a gift from the Congress to the Uniting Church and is a local form of Christ's covenant with all of us.
The Covenant is an attempt to be obedient to the command of Jesus, Love one another as I have loved you, in the specific situation of relationships between Indigenous and other Australians. Covenanting is the process of fleshing-out this Covenant.
Covenanting is about being disciples in Australia and understanding that the first Australians can teach the rest of us about being faithful and what it means to be Christians in this land.
Covenanting can put flesh on your faith. It can lead you to a new relationship with God by leading you to a new relationship with our Indigenous brothers and sisters.
Covenanting can make real the call to love your neighbour and work with God in overcoming injustice and indifference.
For further information about Covenanting contact the Commission for Mission's Covenanting Coordinator.
Australia is a country where people of many cultural and faith backgrounds live together. As Christians we believe that diversity is a part of God's creation. We are called to live together in peace, loving our neighbour as God loves us and all people.
Responding to Christ's call within Australia's multicultural, multi-religious landscape, the Uniting Church in Australia National Working Group on Relations with Other Faiths was established to promote knowledge and understanding of other living world faiths and their communities.
The Relations with Other Faiths Working Group seeks to develop wherever possible a commitment to promote respect and tolerance for the integrity of the beliefs of other faiths, cultures and traditions. This desire not only arises from our common humanity but also from a desire to live in peace and goodwill as neighbours in our communities and the world.
The Uniting Church in Australia is part of an amazing web of relationships with other churches through the World Council of Churches, the Christian Conference of Asia, the World Communion of Reformed Churches and the World Methodist Council.
Within Australia, the Uniting Church in Australia is linked to 18 other Christian denominations through our involvement in and membership of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA) and through the covenant signed by all NCCA member churches, "Australian Churches Covenanting Together".
The Christian Unity Working Group (GUWG) assists the UCA Assembly President and General Secretary maintain and develop these ecumenical relationships. It also oversees the UCA teams that conduct the bi-lateral dialogues and conversations between the UCA and some of our partner churches in Australia. The CUWG relates to the committees concerned with ecumenical relations in each synod and reports on a regular basis to the General Secretary and to the Assembly.
Each bi-lateral dialogue and conversation develops a specific focus and agenda. Currently there are active bi-lateral dialogues with the following churches:
There is also a conversation established with the Chinese Methodist Church in Australia (on the basis of our common membership in the World Methodist Council).