Stuart McMillan of Darwin will today be installed as the 14th President of the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA).
Mr McMillan takes up the role after five years as Moderator of the UCA’s Northern Synod in Darwin and more than 30 years working with Aboriginal people in northern Australia.
He’ll be installed as President at a service of 350 church members and guests in Perth at 9:30pm AEST (7:30pm AWST) Sunday 12 July.
A Yolgnu speaker, Mr McMillan will open his installation address with the words, “Bala limurr roŋyirr ŋorraŋgitjlil” – “Let us return to the white ashes of the fire.”
The words are an invitation to Church members from both First and Second Peoples to let the Holy Spirit rekindle the flame of God’s love so that they can strive for a more just church and nation.
The new President will urge Uniting Church members to consider what sovereignty for Australia’s First Peoples would mean for their Church, particularly in its relationship with its Aboriginal and Islander members.
Mr McMillan will lament Australian Government policies on asylum seekers, particularly the keeping of children in immigration detention, and praise compassionate acts of protest by Church members.
The installation service on Sun 12 July will be live streamed from 1930 AWST on this website.
After his installation Mr McMillan will preside over the 14th Assembly meeting that will set the UCA’s national priorities for the next three years.
On the agenda are formal proposals to support the quest for a treaty between the tribes of Arnhem Land and the Australian Government; as well as to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery – the theological version of terra nullius.
Mr McMillan’s previous roles include General Manager of the Arnhem Land Progress Association, and a Community Worker for Aboriginal Resource and Development Services (ARDS). He is only the third lay person to become President in the Uniting Church’s 38-year history.
A profile of Mr McMillan is available here on the 14th Assembly website where news items, photo and video galleries, reports and proposals from the Assembly meeting will be updated over the next week.
(Photo credit: Louisa Sams)