This unit explores the history and theology of the Uniting Church in Australia within the international network of United and Uniting Churches and the broad catholic tradition of the Church. It examines the origins of this 'Australian' Church in the twentieth-century ecumenical movement, traces the history of Church Union in Australia, in particular, the creation of the Basis of Union in 1971 and the union of the three denominations (Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregationalist) to form the Uniting Church in 1977. The subject then explores the character of the Uniting Church as it has developed over the past forty years, including reference to such key post-union documents as ‘Why does the Uniting Church Ordain Women to the Ministry of the Word?’, ‘We are a Multicultural Church,’ ‘The Covenant between the UCA and the UAICC,’ and the revised Preamble to the Constitution. The distinctive features of government by inter-related councils will also be studied.

Unit code: CT2222P

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 2

Unit discipline: Systematic Theology

Proposing College: Pilgrim Theological College

Show when this unit is running

Learning outcomes


Describe the theological and historical roots of the Uniting Church in Australia.


Articulate the main themes and theological emphases of the Basis of Union


Summarise the key developments in the ongoing theology and history of the UCA.


Critically expound one of the key post-union documents of the UCA.

Unit sequence

At least one unit in each of CT and CH


Lectures will be supplemented by both in-class tutorial and online forums.

Indicative Bibliography

Balabanski, Vicky. “The biblical fabric of Paragraph 3 of the Basis of Union: How Well Does it Stand up to Contemporary Scrutiny? Uniting Church Studies 17:2 (2011): 55-66.
Bos, Rob and Geoff Thompson (eds). Theology for Pilgrims: Selected Theological Documents of the Uniting Church in Australia. Sydney: Uniting Church Press, 2008. Cook, Michelle. “The Atonement, the Work of Christ, and the Church in the Basis of Union.” Uniting Church Studies 18:2 (2012): 13-26. Dutney, Andrew. Manifesto for Renewal: The Shaping of a New Church, 2nd ed. Unley, SA: Mediacom Education, 2016. Emilsen, William. Charles Harris: A Struggle for Justice. Unley, SA: Mediacom, 2019. McCaughey, J. Davis. Commentary on the Basis of Union of the Uniting Church in Australia. Melbourne: Uniting Church in Australia Press, 1980. Owen, Michael J. Back to Basics: Studies on the Basis of Union of the Uniting Church in Australia. Melbourne: Joint Board of Christian Education, 1966.
Thompson, Geoff. Disturbing Much, Disturbing Many: Theology Provoked by the Basis of Union. Northcote: Uniting Academic Press, 2016. Walker, Christopher C. Building on a Solid Basis: Papers from the Uniting Church in Australia Working Groups on Doctrine and Worship 2000-2011. Sydney: Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia, 2012. Uniting Church Studies 16 (2010) - special issue on the Revised Preamble


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Essay - Essay on Basis of Union 2250 50.0
Essay - Essay on one area of theological development in the post-union history of the UCA 2250 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 16 Sep, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2020-09-16 10:30:05 +1000