Month: September 2023

Telling the Story. Our History Tells Us Who We Are

Published / by Dean Eland

Congregations tell their story in print and orally in conversations and special events. Stories are shared through art exhibitions, displays, photo collections, murals, brochures and media including Facebook and web sites. Special events and anniversaries acknowledge the gifts and practices of those who have gone before.

Congregation stories are grounded in their local context, denominational and cultural traditions and through the shared memories of members and family connections.

The UCAs commitment to Covenanting reminds us that congregations now begin their story by acknowledging the land where they meet. Stories that explore their relationship with Australia’s First peoples who have a sense of place and belonging, who have practiced their culture and spiritual traditions over thousands of years before the founding of 19th century churches by colonists and those who came later.

We can encourage each other by sharing our unique stories in networks and workshops. Our sense of purpose and calling are also expressed through the songs we sing, liturgies, reflection and prayers and these weekly patterns empower our collective imagination, gives voice to our theological hopes and shape our actions into the future.

Stories also powerful when they recall the concrete, specific and achievable events that have influenced the lives of many. New identities also emerge for congregations as they recall elements from their story and re-interpret these insights to meet current challenges. Story rich experiences and in-depth reflection generates a new story and emerging identities are reaffirmed by theological insights and themes that describe who they are what they are called to do.