The Uniting Church’s understanding of social justice and responsibility is informed by the Christian scriptures; theological reflection; social, political and economic analysis; the statements of the Queensland Synod and National Assembly; and our engagement with people in everyday life.
The church and social responsibility
The biblical understanding of social responsibility is based on our belief in the life and dignity of every human person, and a preferential option for disadvantaged and vulnerable people.
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.
–Jesus (Matthew 25:40)
We believe that through our words, prayers and actions we must show solidarity with and compassion for all people. Our belief in the God of justice brings an obligation to work for systemic social reform and improvement in the social conditions that produce injustice.
We affirm our eagerness to uphold basic Christian values and principles, such as the importance of every human being, the need for integrity in public life, the proclamation of truth and justice, the rights for each citizen to participate in decision-making in the community, religious liberty and personal dignity, and a concern for the welfare of the whole human race.
We pledge ourselves to seek the correction of injustices wherever they occur. We will work for the eradication of poverty and racism within our society and beyond. We affirm the rights of all people to equal educational opportunities, adequate health care, freedom of speech, employment or dignity in unemployment if work is not available. We will oppose all forms of discrimination which infringe basic rights and freedoms. (Statement to the Nation, 1977)
The 1997 National Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia’s Invitation to the Nation states:
We commit ourselves to participate in the building of our nation as one which: recognising the long-standing relationship of Aboriginal people with the land, unswervingly sustains a commitment to being a nation which moves towards justice and reconciliation with them, with special concern about our responses to the Wik decision and the damage done to the “stolen generations”;
affirms Australia as a multicultural society in which all its people, whatever their ethnic origin, are cherished and respected;
with due alarm about the ever widening gap between rich and poor, upholds values, both economic and social, which move us towards a society of equity and compassion and a sharing of resources for the common good;
listens and responds to the needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged;
stands firmly for human rights, even at cost to itself, as a responsible member of the international community;
takes its place as a country which makes its rightful contribution to the well-being of the environment, for the sake of the whole creation and for future generations.
The Uniting Church is committed to social justice and has various social justice units and groups who listen and respond to the needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged.
UnitingJustice Australia is the justice unit of the National Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia, pursuing national matters of social and economic justice, human rights, peace and the environment.
Subscribe to Justice News.
Aboriginal and Islander Christians from all over Australia have come together to form a national Congress. It’s part of the Uniting Church, but determines its own goals, priorities and policies. Congress advocates and educates to create positive cultural transformation in society.
UnitingCare Australia is an agency of the Uniting Church and one of the largest providers of community services in Australia. It works with and on behalf of the UnitingCare network to advocate for policies and programs that help people live a decent life. Contact them to receive their weekly E-News.
UnitingWorld is the international agency of the church. It connects people and church communities in Australia, the Pacific, Asia and Africa to partner in God’s mission: overcoming poverty and enabling discipleship and faith-filled action. Their goal is to see lives changed both in Australia and internationally. Subscribe to UnitingWorld e-news.
Frontier Services is a national agency of the Uniting Church. It provides care, health, family and community services, and pastoral support to people in remote Australia. Working across 85 per cent of the continent, it empowers communities and individuals to overcome the disadvantages of living in remote locations. Receive the quarterly Frontier News by post.
Based in Victoria, the Justice and International Mission (JIM) unit provides resources to engage and educate people about social justice issues. Their e-newsletter ‘Just Update’ includes information on social justice events, actions and comments. Email JIM or call 03 9251 5271 to receive it. Become a JustActivist – find your voice; have a say; act with justice in mind.
The Northern Synod of the Uniting Church supports individuals, families and communities through effective social policy, advocacy and community service provision. Read their Social Justice Statement.
The Social Justice Commission works for reconciliation, justice and peace and involves the Church in social and national affairs. They do this in practical ways by identifying issues, undertaking research, providing position papers, developing resources, organising seminars and advocacy work. Sign up for the weekly Justice and Mission Update.
Australians as a whole have always shown support for being multicultural. We are a country that should have mutual love and respect for each other’s differences; taking steps to not only listen but to be heard. Sharing stories together is a brilliant way to start.
National Reconciliation Week is from 27 May–3 June 2020 with the theme “In this together”.
- The Assembly Resourcing Unit has produced a National Reconciliation Week resource with reflections from Assembly President Dr Deidre Palmer and the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC).
- Talking about Reconciliation Week with Denise Champion
- Prayer for National Reconciliation Week by Erin Mawhinney
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May marks Domestic Violence Month with the theme in 2020, “Not now, Not ever”. We all have a contribution to play in eliminating domestic violence in our community, not least the church with agencies like UnitingCare Queensland leading this charge. Over the course of the coming weeks, resources will be developed to support and raise awareness within our communities.
We come to you at a very strange time in our history. The threat of death and destruction is very real all around us; if it isn’t from a microscopic virus, it’s from economic collapse. We pray for all those people and nations affected, especially those who don’t have the economic capacity we do in Australia. We pray that at such a time as this we will become united and gain perspective, especially our leaders at all levels of power.
We specifically want to pray for those for whom a lock-down is placing them in grave danger as they are stuck with the very person who is most dangerous to them. We pray for the many women, children and men who are in family violence situations. We pray as they face the terror of not knowing how their partner or parent will respond to them. We pray that they will be safe. We pray that they will have family and friends who check on them. We pray that they might find the courage to seek help, and we pray for the agencies and groups that help, that they won’t be overwhelmed, but will have the resources to protect and empower.
Thank you that the government, the community and the church are paying attention to this issue. May we the church show leadership in this area. Help us not to be afraid to talk about this issue in our communities, and to believe it doesn’t happen in our families.
We pray for perpetrators, that the strange times may highlight to them their problems, and they might seek help rather than control, they might understand the monster within and fight that enemy, not see their loved ones as the enemy.
God who submitted to violence to end violence. May we not be satisfied until domestic and family violence are history.
Rev Paul Clark
Minister of Redcliffe Uniting Church
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- Reflection – The Uniting Church position on gender equality is a breath of fresh air
- Reflection – Our role is to innovate, lead, and uplift others towards equality
- Reflection – Building a flourishing organisation
- Reflection – Take the time to give thanks
- Reflection – Without equality, the church is not whole
- Reflection – First Peoples need to invest in genuine relationships
- Reflection – Remain humble and keep working as God blesses you
Prayer by Rev Melanie Wheeley
Thank you for your promise of fullness of life in Christ for all people. As we come together to celebrate International Women’s Day, we ask that women worldwide experience this fullness of life in their respective contexts.
Thank you for the many strides taken towards equality. For increased numbers of girls and women receiving education, for increases in women stepping into positions of leadership, for the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women to date. We especially thank you for the men and women of history who have raised their collective voices to name the injustices and inequality that women navigate.
We confess there is still a long way to go. Across our nation we pray for an end to stereotypes that restrict the free expression of identity which you call forth.
Stereotypes of gender that restrict life rather than empower it, help us to have a robust and full view of what it means to masculine and feminine.
Forgive us for the times we have not raised our collective voices out against injustice, help us to be a community who educates ourselves in the signs of domestic violence shouting a collective no to violence against women, help us to support and celebrate women in leadership, particularly as they step into middle and senior management.
Creator God, you task us with heralding in your new Kingdom, in cooperation with your Spirit. Teach us to be a people who both model and work towards building and celebrating safe communities. May these communities grow women of courage and tenacity. In your name we pray it, and may your name be glorified in our behaviours. Amen
Rev Melanie Wheeley
Minister, Moggill Uniting Church