The Uniting Church was the first church to be created in and of Australia. So, it’s fair to say we’re proudly Australian. Our congregations reflect the multicultural face of our country – they’re inviting and embrace people from all corners of the globe.
We’re the third largest Christian denomination in Australia. You’ll find us in Australia’s largest cities and most remote towns. We’re also the largest non-government provider of community services in Australia through our community services arm: Uniting (formerly UnitingCare NSW/ACT).
How we came together
Three denominations came together in 1977 to form the Uniting Church in Australia: Congregational Union in Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia, and the Presbyterian Church of Australia.
The Basis of Union is the document that set the platform for how these churches came together. It outlines the roles of the different councils of the Church including the presbyteries, the synods, and the Assembly. It states the central affirmations of the Christian faith and is a guide to what is central in the life of the Uniting Church.
Working together for the common good
Unlike some other churches, we don’t operate under a hierarchy. Instead, we’re organised by groups of women and men, lay and ordained. We operate through a series of inter-related councils — local churches, regional presbyteries, state synods, and the national Assembly. Each council has its distinct tasks, and each council recognises the limits of its responsibilities in relation to other councils.
We all work together and make decisions by consensus in each area of the Church’s life for the benefit of all.
What we believe
Our beliefs are drawn from the Bible, and the Apostles' and Nicene creeds. We observe the Reformation Witness in the Scots Confession of Faith (1647), the Savoy Declaration (1658), and the preaching of John Wesley in his Forty Four Sermons (1793).
We confidently believe that through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God brings us into right relationship with God.
As a people journeying together we affirm our calling under God to:
- preach Christ the crucified and risen one and confess him as Lord
- bear witness to the unity of faith and life in Christ, rising above cultural, economic, national and racial boundaries
- engage in fearless prophetic ministry in relation to social evils which deny God’s active will for justice and peace
- act with God alongside the oppressed, the hurt and the poor
- accept responsibility for the wise use and conservation of the finite resources of this earth for the benefit of all
- recognise, treasure and use the gifts of the Spirit given to all God’s people for ministering
- live a creative, adventurous life of faith, characterised by openness, flexibility, hope and joy (based on a statement from the inaugural worship service of the Uniting Church in Australia, June 1977).
What it means to be united
In the spirit of uniting, we:
- are committed to dialogue and cooperation with other churches, and actively participate in state and national ecumenical bodies and international bodies such as the World Council of Churches
- are willing to explore the implications of being in a community with people of many faiths and what this means for the way we express and share our faith
- accept women and men as equals in ministry, including ordained ministries, and encourage women in leadership
- embrace diversity and are open to discuss controversial issues and what it means to be inclusive of all people and to respect differences
- involve all people in oversight and governance, seeking to make decisions together rather than being hierarchical.