That the Assembly
1. welcome the emerging relationship between the Uniting Church in Australia and the China Christian Council and affirms the importance of this relationship;
2. encourage UnitingCare and UnitingWorld to collaborate in growing this relationship, particularly in mutual learning and support for social services provision and theological education; and
3. encourage UnitingCare and UnitingWorld to use their learning and experience from this relationship to strengthen their own agencies and share them for the benefit of the wider Uniting Church.
a) The opening paragraphs of the Basis of Union of the Uniting Church in Australia calls us to “seek a wider unity in the power of the Holy Spirit” within the ecumenical context, and with particular geographic focus “to seek special relationship with Churches in Asia and the Pacific”. The budding relationship with the China Christian Council (CCC) is an outworking of this call.
b) The CCC is a rapidly growing church who have recognized their need for leadership development both in theological ministry as well as in the provision of social services, as the church steps into the gap to provide care for the an ageing society (Currently China has 200 million people over 60 years old, a figure that will double in the next 20 years). This has influenced the nature of the relationship with the UCA to date, highlighting an area of shared interest and capacity.
c) The relationship between the UCA and the CCC has grown over the last five years through several interactions:
2010: Initial contact between UCA and CCC
2011: UCA President Rev Alistair Macrae led the first official visit to China
2012: CCC President Rev Gao Feng and General Secretary Rev Kan Baoping led the first official visit to the UCA; attending the 13th UCA Assembly and visiting theological colleges and UnitingCare facilities.
2013: President Rev Prof Andrew Dutney and President Elect Mr Stuart McMillan led a delegation to attend the first joint theological conference between the UCA and the CCC titled ‘One Shepherd, One Flock’.
2014: UnitingCare hosted a visit from the CCC Social Service Dept who were researching quality aged care services for China. Two CCC theologians participated in the Basis of Union Conference in Sydney on the topic of “Unity of Partnership in Social Service”.
2015: Following the invitation of the CCC, UnitingCare/UnitingWorld teams made two visits to CCC services, one to research current state of aged care services in China, and another to deliver professional and management skills training to 90 aged care services managers from across China. The training was hugely successful.
d) The interactions between UnitingWorld, UnitingCare and CCC have resulted in a depth and breadth of relationship with stakeholders in China including the CCC national leadership, the Provincial Synod leaders, theological seminaries, aged-care providers and a local Christian-business association.
e) Both UnitingWorld and UnitingCare have recognised the mutual benefit of their Agencies and the wider UCA engaging with the CCC, as UCA’s theology and practice of ministry, mission and social service are re-examined and renewed in the context of sharing and learning with a vibrant and growing church with a richly different history and culture.