Welcome to this Act2 report to the 17th Assembly.

The title of this report comes from the Basis of Union which affirms that the Church “has the gift of the Spirit in order that it may not lose the way”. The Holy Spirit is a disturbing gift at times. It is an unsettling presence in our comfort and apathy, nudging us to take notice of both pain and joy and calling us to lives of creativity and courage.

I have seen the Spirit moving many times in the work of the Act2 Project. It was there in the faithful discernment of our councils and members. It was there as people shared honestly about their hopes and fears. It was there in feedback which caused us to reshape our direction. It was there as the Act2 team wrestled with a way forward that was true to the discernment of the Church.

The Spirit has also been gently brooding on the difficult truths that have arisen from looking at our life with honesty and love. While there is much to celebrate in our body of Christ there is much that is hard and frustrating. There are many places where the current ordering of our life makes it difficult to be faithful to who God is calling us to be. Before us is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reorient our life to our very purpose, to serve the gospel of Jesus Christ and enter more fully into Christ’s mission. An opportunity to move forward with a renewed sense of faith, hope and unity. An invitation to courageously ask what we might need to give up to find newness of life.

We will need to acknowledge the grief that change may bring and give thanks for the past. But we are in God’s hands and there is more life and hope ahead than we can even imagine.

I want to thank the Uniting Church for its considerable engagement with the Project, and the Act2 Project Unit and Steering Committee for the scale of work it has undertaken. In the discernment now to take place on this report may we be guided by the Spirit, the compass that guides us to Jesus, our true north.

Shaping the future Uniting Church.

We acknowledge the sovereign First Peoples of the lands and waters where we live and work across the country, and pay our respects to Elders past and present who have cared for these lands for millennia. We are committed to walking together seeking justice and reconciliation.