Uniting Church Studies

Uniting Church Studies

Uniting Church Studies THL319 (Bachelor of Theology) and THL441 (Graduate Diploma of Theology) is being taught at United Theological College in 2018 as a distance subject and on Tuesday afternoons by Damian Palmer.

Uniting Church Studies 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 thirty years.

Call UTC to enrol for courses in 2018.
Phone 02 8838 8914
Office Hours: 9 am – 5 pm (Mon – Fri)

2018 UTC Education Prospectus – Downloadable PDF (2MB)

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:

  • be able to articulate the history, polity and liturgical traditions of the three churches that united in 1977 to form the Uniting Church
  • be able to demonstrate knowledge of the history of the Uniting Church since 1977
  • be able to compare critically the history of the Uniting Church since 1977 with at least one other “united” or “uniting” church
  • be able to use effectively archival sources, published works and oral history in historical research
  • be able to demonstrate an appreciation of detailed critical historical study for contemporary church concerns
  • be able to articulate an historically informed appreciation and critique of the theology of the Basis of Union
  • be able to demonstrate a detailed and critical appreciation of the theology and work of a major Uniting Church theologian


The subject will cover the following topics:

  • The Uniting Church today
  • The history and theology of the three predecessor churches
  • The Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia
  • Historical Skills: Doing Oral History
  • The Ecumenical Background of the Uniting Church
  • Theology for the Basis of Union
  • The meaning of 1977: Church Union and the joining of the Churches
  • The Early Years of the Uniting Church (1977 – 1983)
  • Case Studies: The UCA and the Bicentennial; O’Connor Uniting Church and the Charismatic Movement; Baptism; “The Sexuality Debate”; Bishops and Deacons; Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress
  • United and Uniting Churches: The United Reformed Church; The United Church of Canada; The Church of South India
  • Selected Uniting Church Theologians
  • The future of the Uniting Church in Australia

Subject Enrolment Enquiry Session 1

Subject Enrolment Enquiry for Session 1 at UTC - for fully paid or audit enrolments.