living water … thirsty land … assembly posting 2

I’ve found today a demanding one.  It hasn’t been helped by the fact that I still haven’t caught up on sleep lost on the long journey back from eastern-USA to Brisbane.  The past 24 hours I’ve felt really sinusy.  Is that a word?   It’s 9.27 and I reckon I’ll be in bed and asleep by 10.  I sure hope so.

There has been some light and thanksgiving and joy amid the day:

  • conversations with various Assembly folk
  • singing a song in Arabic during morning worship
  • giving thanks to God for the contribution of Lee Levett-Olson and Marelle Harisun (Lois Campbell’s sister) with Coolamon College – the now-disbanded distance education network of the UCA nationally
  • hearing folk from the vast range of Assembly agencies respond to a huge range and number of questions reminded me of the diversity of ministries in the life of the national church – multicultural ministry, Christian Education, worship … and so on
  • discussion on proposals on property-sharing in multicultural contexts; and a statement on Jewish-Christian relations
  • approving the extension of the term of Assembly General Secretary – Rev Terence Corkin for a further 3 years.  Terence has really loosened up in the last few years … sense of humour etc

The demanding aspect is two-fold:

Ultimately I think I’ll enjoy my community working group.  Great people in it unafraid to speak their mind, but the discussion was one – not that I didn’t have things to say – I struggled to offer a comment into.  I did eventually – it was all surrounding a proposal to set up a process to review the Constitution of the UCA.   You see, we are in a very different time in the life of the church and the world than we were prior to 1977 when the church is founded.  The institutionalized church is crumbling.  Denominationalism as we knew it is crumbling.   What sort of church is God calling us to be?   Someone in the group commented that the UCA started as a “movement”, became a denomination, and is fast becoming a movement once again.  It’s a potentially exciting time to be church, when God calls us to lay aside “what was”.  Do we dare?

Secondly, tonight we heard a report, originating from the Congress, seeking a major amendment to the “Preamble” to the UCA Constitution – one in which the place of indigenous folk as the first people of this land is acknowledged, but also acknowledged the place (both implicit and explicit) of the church in perpetuating a myriad range of acts of injustice on these first peoples.   Congress is seeking, in this preamble to acknowledge the Covenant entered into in 1994 (and restated yesterday).  So far so good.

My problem was with the manner in which one of the presenters – a key person in Congress spoke to this proposal.  I felt that if I went to the microphone to raise a query in any way (not that I’m likely to) I would really struggle.    Not the ‘safest’ environment. I could say more … need to do some more praying, reflecting, struggling with all of this. Click this link and go to Proposal 55 for more detail.

Time for bed.  My head is about as comfortable as Mitchell Johnson’s bowling form at the moment.  Let’s see what tomorrow brings!


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