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President's Reflection

"that they might be one … that the world might believe you sent me". (John 17:21). 

On the NCCA website there is a sentence that sums up the sense of place and hope that the NCCA carries on with - it is this: We also share a common future as we are convinced that the future of Christians in Australia lies together, not in separation.

It flows after the more formal statement of who we are and takes us into our purpose together.  Yes, we do share a common future, both as Australians and spiritually as Christians.  This common future is profoundly linked to our being ‘in Australia’ together.

The place of the church in Australia is complex. We are part of the heart of this nation and yet seem to be in the margins. Giving voice to our identity as the people of Jesus and to our hope for all people is made difficult by aspects of our own past conduct and the nature of ‘secular’ Australia. Yet, this is our reality and one we can accept and not resist.

What we have in response is our clarity about the nature of God’s goodness, love and grace and an invitation to experience this personally and communally. 

The integrity of our voice in Australia is strengthened by a couple of elements:  

One is that with all the differences between church practice and approach we have so much in common. Our identity as Christian communities is through our faith in Jesus Christ, who prays for us ‘that they might be one … that the world might believe you sent me’. (John 17:21)

Another is a quite straight forward affirmation – ‘we need each other’. We are stronger with a clearer voice and narrative of hope when we are together. No one tradition can be complete in isolation.  In a recent gathering one church leader commented on the place of their church in the Ecumenical movement with these words, ‘we don’t have a choice – it is that important’. 

The coming week of prayer for Christian Unity is a time to be together and place our hope before God in the expectation that our unity and witness might grow. 

Rev. John Gilmore

NCCA President 

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