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The Uniting Church in Australia
Born in 1977, the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) brought together people from the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist Church and the Congregational Union in Australia. It is therefore a truly Australian and indigenous mainstream protestant Christian Church. Congregations in each local area are the foundations of its life and they are supported and assisted in mission and service by presbyteries and synods within each state, and through the Assembly, its national body.

The Uniting Church is the third largest church in Australia (the Roman Catholic and the Anglican churches are larger). Latest statistics indicate the Uniting Church has around 2,500 congregations, 50 presbyteries and 7 synods. Uniting Church members number 300,000 while around 1.3 million people claim an association.

The Uniting Church through its congregations and other groups is a community where we discover what it means to be human in our world, a place where people seek to live out the Christian faith in ways that make a difference in life. It stands with the people of this land in their search for spiritual life, justice, identity and dignity.

The kinds of values that hold us together are a commitment to the Scriptures as the word of God and a passion for justice and social responsibility for all people in our community. We aim to be an inclusive community that holds together different views, cultures and expressions of faith through the unity given in Jesus Christ. As one of the largest non -government providers of community services in all parts of Australia, we are committed to reflecting the love and grace of God in caring for people, in advocating for those with special needs and for the equitable and appropriate provision of social services.

History of the Uniting Church
The Uniting Church came into being on 22 June 1977, as a result of the coming together of the Congregational Union of Australia, the Methodist Church of Australasia, and the Presbyterian Church of Australia.

In uniting, the members of those bodies testified "to that unity which is both Christ's gift and will for the Church" (Basis of Union, para. 1).

Ecumenism remains a vital aspect in all of the Church's life and work - in local congregations, national commitments to work together with other churches, and relationships and partnerships with churches of various denominations in Asia and the Pacific.

What we believe
The Uniting Church's beliefs are drawn from the Bible and from the Apostles' and Nicene creeds. The Church also takes heed of the Reformation Witness in the Scots Confession of Faith (1647), the Savoy Declaration (1658), and of the preaching of John Wesley in his Forty Four Sermons (1793). It affirms the place of ongoing theological, literary, historical and scientific study. The Church's Basis of Union (1971) brings together aspects of these writings and traditions and sets out the church's way of living and being.

The Uniting Church confidently believes that through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God brings us into right relationship with God, whereby in faith we can:

live in a close, loving, personal, dynamic relationship with the living God;
participate in the worshipping, caring and serving community of Christians;
receive God's gifts so that life can be what God means it to be - loving, purposeful, joyful, eternal; tell others of this good news and live it out in acts of compassion, service and justice in the community.

What we do
The Uniting Church's commitment to love of God and neighbour has sometimes drawn it into controversial situations. It has long taken a role in the political arena, encouraging moral, social and ethical integrity. The Uniting Church has been at the forefront of Aboriginal rights issues including the Native Title debate and reconciliation. It has taken a stand on environmental issues, and supports the equality and dignity of marginalised people such as ethnic minorities, disabled people and homosexual people. It is a multicultural church, striving to treat people on an equal basis, and seeking to give a voice to the poor, outcast and needy.

However only some of the Uniting Church's discipling is viewed in public. Much of its role is to stand alongside the individual, inside and outside the church. Its congregations nurture spiritual, social and educational growth. Lay people are encouraged in leadership roles, including preaching of the Word, and leading of congregational worship.

International Mission
In accordance with the understanding that God loves all people equally and works in and through all God's people, the Uniting Church's approach to world mission has moved from a patriarchal model of "knowing and giving what we think is best" to a model of standing alongside those in need.

The Church's mission co-workers immerse themselves in local culture, seek to hear the voice of the local people, and respond by offering support, encouragement and empowerment. This is particularly so in the area of human rights, where the dignity of all people must be respected, however different their way of life may be from the mission co-worker. This model has mutual benefits - mission co-workers learn about themselves as well as others through their experiences. Inevitably, they discover new and life-changing aspects of God which they are able to share on their return to Australia. The Uniting Church constantly seeks to affirm its biblical and theological understanding that "Christians in Australia are called to bear witness to a unity of faith and life in Christ which transcends cultural and economic, national and racial boundaries" (Basis of Union, para. 2).

Assembly of Confessing Congregations:
Our congregation has joined the 'Assembly of Confessing Congregations, as part of our response to the continuous debate in relation to the ordination of practising homosexual people. For full details in relation to the work of the "Assembly of Confessing Congregations" please click on ACC

The Bowen Uniting Church affirms the following resolution of the Queensland Synod in November 2003.

Resolutions from Queensland Special Synod
7-9 November 2003

No.1 Affirmation of Resolution 91:117 (from a previous Synod) of the Queensland Synod
Affirms Resolution 91:117 of the Queensland Synod:

1) Affirms human sexuality is a gift from God.
2) Teaches in appropriate ways a positive and joyous celebration of our sexuality in Christian marriage.
3) Proclaims the forgiving nature of God.
4) Recognises the need for responsible sexual behaviour in the light of human weakness and sin.
5) Points out that sexual activity outside of loving, equal, committed married relationships is having a
damaging effect on many individuals, families and society.
6) Deplores all sexual abuse and sexual violence which occurs within families and marriage, as well
as in other circumstances, and calls on the church to listen to, care for and stand with the victims
and all parties involved.
7) Holds that responsible sexual behaviour is expressed by celibacy in singleness and loving
faithfulness between a man and a woman in marriage.
8) Affirms the need for showing compassion to homosexual men and women, especially during times
of injustice and ill-health.
9) Holds that a practising homosexual lifestyle is incompatible with Christian principles.
10) Rejects judgemental attitudes but affirms high moral standards in sexual ethics and witnesses to
the renewing grace of God in this as in all areas of human behaviour.

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