Reforming Alliance Reference Section
The resolutions of the 10th Uniting Church Assembly in Melbourne in July 2003 regarding Ministry and Membership (P84) evoked much discussion and a wide range of response in and beyond the UCA. For many members of the UCA, the implications of these resolutions represented a contradiction of core beliefs and values. Beyond sexual ethics, they raised many questions about the interpretation of scripture, the faith of the Church and the processes of the Church. Concerned ministers and members and officers of evangelical groups agreed to call a summit to address the crisis in the Uniting Church's life and faith. This national summit of evangelical/orthodox leaders and theologians of the UCA was held in September 2003 at Newtown Mission, Sydney.
Those gathered were 73 people in total:
- 34 were EMU members and 39 were not
- 38 were minister or lay pastors
- 2 were students at UCA theological colleges
- 18 were Anglo lay persons
- 1 represented the UAICC
- 14 were from migrant ethnic congregations
The summit agreed to establish a Reforming Alliance within the Uniting Church (known as RA). An office was established at Newtown, and a membership basis was outlined – this would be by donation, the same basis as faith ministries operate. Over two thousand individual members eventually joined the Reforming Alliance, and 160 congregations.
From the start, the Reforming Alliance embarked on a full plan of communication and strategy to help bring the need for reform to the wider Uniting Church.
Some Areas of Work
ReForming Newsletter – the main communication to members. All copies are included for reference.
The Reforming Alliance undertook an ambitious survey of the attitudes of members on sexuality issues in late 2003, releasing a report with the full results. (See the History section.)
The Reforming Alliance organised National Gatherings in 2004, 2005 and 2006 (last in conjunction with EMU). Papers from these gatherings are included on the website for reference.
A major focus for the Reforming Alliance was the preparation of a proposal on sexuality for the 11th Uniting Church Assembly held in 2006 for the consideration of and endorsement of congregations, presbyteries and Synods (SEE the 11th Assembly material). This proposal was not formally put at the Assembly, with the UCA Assembly eventually approving an expanded version of Resolution 84 (known this time as Resolution 108).
The Reforming Alliance, through the RA Executive, also undertook substantial legal reference work, liaising with the Assembly over these matters. After the 2006 11th Assembly, the special EMU and Reforming Alliance summit established a new organisation, the Assembly of Confessing Congregations (ACC). Much of the work of evangelical members went into the new organisation, and EMU Branches formally dissolved in favour of the ACC. After the end of the legal work, the Reforming Alliance executive proposed that the organisation be wound up.
A decision to dissolve the Reforming Alliance was taken at the AGM held on 12th September 2008 in Adelaide. All assets and material were formally transferred to the ACC.