Dr Deidre Palmer has encouraged Uniting Church members to apply the difficult learnings of 2020 to shape the way the Church pursues God’s mission in the world.
In her annual message to coincide with the foundation of the UCA on 22 June 1977, Dr Palmer said the Uniting Church was responding with creativity and compassion to COVID-19 and other crises, embracing new opportunities to be the Body of Christ.
"While we’ve been moving along this unfamiliar pathway we continue to be bearers of Christ’s light and hope wherever we are," said Dr Palmer.
"Your creative responses have been a gift and blessing of the Spirit who guides and sustains us along the way.
"I’ve been delighted to hear Uniting Church members saying that the sharing online across the country has given them a deeper understanding of the breadth and diversity of the Uniting Church.
"Gathering as a Christian community among our neighbours will remain central to who we are but these last few months have brought home to us that we are not defined by church buildings.
"Rather we are defined and marked by the love and compassion that shapes us and marks our relationships with people in our communities in our neighbourhoods and the wider Australian society."
As restrictions on gathering and movement are gradually lifted and things return to normal Dr Palmer urged church members to find creative ways to rebuild in a way that would be "just for everyone".
Dr Palmer recommended members read the Assembly's new advocacy document, Build Back Better. A Just Recovery post COVID-19, and issued a warm invitation to UCA members to attend her President's conference in October.
"On this anniversary, we give thanks to God for who we are and from where we’ve come. But we also look forward to where we are going." said Dr Palmer.
"Towards an intergenerational and multicultural Christian community, centred in Christ. led by the innovative, creative Holy Spirit of God."
Watch and share the full message.