More than 300 members of the Uniting Church in Australia from across the country will gather in Perth over the next week for the Church’s 14th triennial Assembly meeting.
The week-long meeting, which sets the Uniting Church’s national priorities for the next three years, begins on Sunday 12 July with the installation of incoming President, Stuart McMillan.
Mr McMillan has worked closely with the indigenous people of Northern Australia for more than 30 years. The meeting will have a strong focus on justice for and engagement with Australia’s First Peoples.
The theme of the meeting, Hearts on Fire, combines symbols of fire from indigenous and scriptural traditions that will be reflected in daily worship throughout the week.
Formal proposals will be considered to explore recognition of sovereignty for indigenous Australians and what that would mean for the Uniting Church; as well as to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery – the theological version of terra nullius. Two new Aboriginal Ministers from Western Australia will be publicly ordained during the meeting.
Members of the Assembly will be asked to prepare the Church for any structural changes necessary arising out of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Chair of the Royal Commission Justice Peter McClellan AM will address the Assembly meeting on Wednesday 15 July.
Discussion and discernment will continue on the Church’s position on same-gender marriage.
Other proposals the Assembly will consider include:
• the future shape of its remote area ministry;
• a call from UnitingWorld for the restoration of aid cuts from the 2015-16 Federal Budget;
• an updated asylum seeker policy that calls for the closure of Nauru and Manus Island detention centres and restates the UCA’s desire for a generous humanitarian intake;;
• acknowledgement of the Armenian Genocide; and,
• an awareness campaign on the plight of Palestinian Christians.
There will be formal acknowledgement and appreciation of the work of a number of Church members, including Assembly General Secretary Rev. Terence Corkin who stands down at the end of this year after 14 years in the role.
All proposals and reports for the 14th Assembly are available for viewing on the 14th Assembly website http://assembly2015.uca.org.au
News items, photo and video galleries will be updated on the website and through the Uniting Church in Australia Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Live streaming of certain sessions will also be available via the Assembly 2015 website.
A daily newsletter will be distributed which can be subscribed to at http://uca.org.au