Sunday, June 24, 2007

30th birthday of the Uniting Church


from w
Yesterday we celebrated a 30th birthday party at the local Uniting Church. Doesn't sound old, but the Uniting Church in Australia emerged from three historical churches - Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregational churches in Australia which joined together in June, 1977. At that time many church buildings were sold as people formed one congregation out of three. We lived in a small Mallee town of Hopetoun at that time and our boys were primary school age. I remember the day we celebrated the launch of this new church in Hopetoun. Peceli was the minister there and we had a very happy life in that wheat-farming community.

The logo of the Uniting Church is based on the cross, the dove of peace/spirit, and the U as unfinished and open. So 'Uniting' is better than 'United'.

Yesterday we invited two sister churches to join us at Geelong East and we had a fine time, good music (not me at the organ this time but a young guy who gave me a copy of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' so that made my day as I couldn't get it at the local music shops), action songs, prayers, stories, a cake and hospitality. I met lots of friends I hadn't seen for a long time.

Some of the more traditional Christian churches in Australia are struggling with membership these days and tend to be composed of elderly and middle-aged people. Younger families and children are more likely to join charismatic type groups with more lively music and a warm inviting style. Not that we are noticeably oldfashioned! However, thirty years ago our church had very active youth and children's programs and we lament the diminishing of interest in recent years. Why is this so? I guess part of it is do to with lifestyle changes - Sundays are now filled with sport, shopping and other options.

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6 Comments:

Blogger memo said...

Unity...something I love. Well happy birthday church!

7:23 PM  
Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

There's another 30th birthday - I got a letter in the mail about being an aluminium or alumni or something for Deakin University - it's their 30th birthday too. This is a really good Australian university that made its mark in the early years for an excellent off-campus program. I did art and music stuff there too and had a great time as an older student. They cut their art/music/theatre course unfortunately going the way of the world into techno subjects.
w.

2:04 AM  
Blogger karlassi said...

We had the 50th anniversary of our denomination, United Church of Christ, this past weekend. I haven't had the opportunity yet to write much about it, but theUCC is a unification of Congregational Christian Churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Churches in 1957. All of the strands of the UCC have wonderful peace and justice histories of love and compassion and courage. We had a huge birthday party! I love the idea of uniting rather than united, and wish we were the uniting church of christ. In any case, happy birthday Uniting Church!!

8:20 AM  
Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Happy birthday to you too Karlassi. Celebrations are good and a time to check how we are going also. Congregational - I like that one. When I was 17 we went to a Congregational church in Melbourne - in the city - because the preachers made a lot of sense and seemed relevant. No 'Oh Lord, save us from pomposity' sort of language!
w.

1:51 AM  
Blogger The Moody Minstrel said...

Wow...all these reshufflings and reorganizings of denomination...

And yet I still remember my school days when I went to a Lutheran church that was quietly tolerant of Catholics, Methodists, and Presbyterians but frothily contemptuous of Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Unitarians, Nazarenes, Seventh Day Adventists, Assembly of God, Baptists, and whatever else caught their eye. Meanwhile, my church was called "non-Christian" by a member of the First Christian Church, "sanctimonious phonies" by a Baptist, "Just dumb," by an Assembly of God member, "Off the track," by a member of a community megachurch, "Misguided" by a Mormon, and "[expletive]" by a Jehovah's Witness.

Face it; most Christian denominations agree to disagree, and it's amazing when they can find enough common ground to unify.

At least they're not blowing each other up (yet).

5:23 AM  
Blogger Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

That was a funny and sad what you wrote Moody. Yes, it can be a circus at times, but alternatively, when they do come together and are on the same wavelength it can be inspirational. Peceli went to a World Council of Churches Assembly a long time ago in Canberra) and said it was excellent. And certainly the world music tapes from that Assembly were super. Thank goodness that in recent years we have learnt more and more to be inclusive in our thinking.

Many of the disputes/differences are about trivial things and cultural or traditional ways of doing things. Which song-book to use, words on the wall or in a book, a dog-collar, a gown, or suit, sit or stand, etc. etc. Better to be a Quaker and don't talk too much I reckon!
w.

3:38 PM  

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