This week the Uniting Church celebrates 43 years of Union, where three denominations came together as one. The Congregationalists, the Methodists, and the Presbyterians decided that joining together as one was a better witness to Christ than separation. The process for Union was a long one. It took decades of these churches meeting together to discuss what was fundamental to Christianity and to the witness of Christ and at the end of it, they put together the Basis of Union.
When you read the Basis one thing becomes obvious. The Uniting Church emphasises Jesus Christ above everything. As the Basis says “the faith and unity of the [Church] are built upon the one Lord Jesus Christ. The Church preaches Christ the risen crucified One and confesses him as Lord to the glory of God the Father.” While that may seem like an obvious and easy statement, it becomes much more difficult after that. It’s clear from the Basis that the thing that binds us in union is Christ, and then the rest is a pilgrimage. Which is why the Uniting Church is such a broad Church. We confess Christ together, and then must struggle with the differences that we have. It’s our Unity in Diversity.
Yet that foundation of togetherness is what I think makes the Uniting Church special. There is a place for everyone who is seeking Jesus. In the UCA, the idea that everyone is welcome isn’t hyperbole. Welcome isn’t conditional to something else. It’s the foundation of what makes us unique as a Church. Unity in Diversity is an invitation to the journey. So that together we may all confess Christ as one, and demonstrate to the world the power of the Gospel.