Today marks the 40th anniversary of the formation of the Uniting Church in Australia.
The Church came into being on 22 June 1977, after three denominations - Congregational Union in Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia, and the Presbyterian Church of Australia - joined together.
UnitingCare Australia National Director Claerwen Little said the milestone is also an important opportunity to reflect on the Uniting Church’s commitment to community service.
“Members of the Uniting Church and its forebears have worked to care for the marginalised and vulnerable in Australian communities for more than 200 years,” she said.
“This 40th anniversary of the Church is a time not only to recognise the generosity of spirit of those who have gone before us, but also to reflect on how we can best serve the community into the future.”
Ms Little said the need for community service organisations is arguably greater now than at any time in Australia’s history.
“Our network of agencies, institutions and missions is the largest non-government provider of community services in Australia, operating from over 1600 sites, employing 40,000 staff and drawing on the support of 30,000 volunteers.
“The network is an expression of the Uniting Church’s commitment to supporting individuals, families and communities, and especially those who are vulnerable, marginalised or excluded from community life. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people with disability, those from culturally diverse backgrounds, refugees and asylum seekers,” Ms Little said.
UnitingCare Australia, based in Canberra, is an agency of the National Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia, giving voice to the Church’s commitment to social justice through advocacy and strengthening community service provision.
To mark the 40th anniversary, staff from UnitingCare Australia will host a BBQ lunch for homeless people at the Uniting Church’s Canberra City Early Morning Centre.
Uniting Church President Stuart McMillan has released a video message to mark the 40th anniversary.