assembly posting 4 … a hard place for all

We’re at a hard spot in the life of the Assembly … indeed the life of the church.

Prior to breaking for dinner last night, and a free evening – which was less than free because of what preceded it – we, after commmunity group discussion, began discussing a proposal seeking:

  • a replacement for the current preamble to the UCA constitution
  • a change to one clause (49) of it.

Some background.

ShayneDespite us being virtually at consensus when it came to Assembly being right behind the preamble; so many others came to the fore, the longer we discussed together …

issues of many (both indigenous and non-indigenous) feeling that we were not in a “safe place”, issues of language, the problems of word-smithing, the vast gulf between cultures when it comes to meeting procedures & decision-making,  theological issues – especially as it relates to Spirit theology, where do multi/cross-cultural congregations of the UCA fit into the bigger picture, the sense of bewilderment by Congress that we, having entered into Covenant back in 1994 and restating it just days ago would be even debating at length a proposal like this …

By late yesterday afternoon, having sensed our meeting place was not safe, Congress moved outside for a time.  This was a painful thing – without them we are incomplete as a church.  Eventually. we resolved to move out of the auditorium and with Congress, move back in together.  A couple of the Congress elders shared powerful insight at this point.

This morning, the vote will be “put” – without any further discussion.  I feel really saddened by this – the hope and promise and unity offered in the preamble will “get up”, but it’s tainted goods now.  Tainted goods.  Tainted relationship.   Adjusting the words of the 60s folk song: When will we ever learn?  When will we ever learn?

Yesterday morning, most of us went to a range of Uniting Church congregations around central Sydney.  For me it was Wesley Mission, right in the heart of Sydney in Pitt St.  I could have just-as-easily gone to Pitt St UC just up the road, but I went Wesley Mission’s “international service” – 800 people, most of them Asian, though the service was quite Anglo in style.  Music has been notable for its scarcity at Assembly (Wednesday night excepted). Glad I went.  I was soooo tempted to have a quite morning … catch a bus to Maroubra beach … whatever.   Didn’t like the stretched out (we’ll sing the chorus one more time) altar call near the end, but the teaching, music, welcome, informality, sense of the Spirit was all good.

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