Moderator's Statement RE: Israel Folau Comments

18 Nov 2019 by Janise Wood in: UCA News

LETTER FROM THE MODERATOR, NSW ACT REGARDING COMMENTS MADE BY ISRAEL FOLAU AT THE TRUTH OF JESUS CHRIST CHURCH, SUNDAY 17 November.
 
Dear Friends,
 
The Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of NSW and the ACT, is today concerned by the comments of Israel Folau, which he made about bushfires during a service of the Truth of Jesus Christ held in Sydney, 17 November.
 
The Synod has been clear that it is in no way associated with comments made by Mr Folau, or the theology from which they arise.
 
Throughout our congregations we make a commitment to work together with other churches to build relationships and partnerships across various denominations and in the wider Asia and Pacific region. An extension of this ecumenical hospitality is offered in the rental of its properties.
 
Kenthurst Uniting Church offers its premises to a variety of churches and community groups, of which The Truth of Jesus Christ Church is one.
 
The Uniting Church, across its congregations and service arms, like Uniting and Wesley Mission, welcomes all people, regardless of gender or sexuality and has a long tradition of positive engagement with other churches, including several who hold very different views to our own. We would encourage prayerful reflection by those who bring into question the dignity of others.
 
The Uniting Church coordinates 300 chaplains in evacuation centres during bushfire emergencies. Last week alone, 22 chaplains were deployed to centres across NSW and a further 30 were on stand-by. The Uniting Church is actively engaged in the world around us, supporting communities in need, affirming same sex marriage and diversity and, more recently, in supporting the decriminalisation of Abortion Laws in NSW.  
 
We bear witness to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ; this is the core of our mission, with which we seek to encourage and inspire others.
Additionally, Channel Seven coverage this morning was shot in clear view of the signage of the Uniting Church and Uniting. This causes us significant concern. Our communications team have worked today to address the matter to ensure this does not continue to be an issue.
 
For your information, Uniting Church continues to reinforce with media that:

  • Israel Folau is not a member of the Uniting Church and does not speak on behalf of the Uniting Church.
  • Folau is a member of The Truth of Jesus Christ Church which holds its services at the Kenthurst Uniting Church in Sydney. This is purely a rental arrangement. Other than holding its services on Uniting Church premises, this group has no connection with the Uniting Church.

If you are approached by a member of the media, please don’t hesitate to send any enquiries to our new Head of Public Affairs and Communications, Steph O’Connell on 0439 600 312 or contact Uniting Church Media and Public Affairs via media@nswact.uca.org.au. Please distribute this letter to anyone you feel should receive it.
 
Moderator
Rev. Simon Hansford