Our Creative Ministries Network Congregation gathers monthly in members’ homes and at an annual day retreat. The Congregation meets five times a year as the Church Council under Uniting Church regulations for small congregations, so all members share in the decision-making responsibilities for our worship and mission. The congregation’s collective mission activities focus on our Justice@Work, our Members Work, the Creative Ministries Arts Fund, and support for the Church of South India’s Jaffna Diocese.
The Congregation was established in 2011 through a Memorandum of Understanding between the Creative Ministries Network Unitingcare Board and the Uniting Church Presbytery of Port Phillip East. As a congregation we have strong ties with the history of CMN and its prophetic ministry of healing, justice, and reconciliation for the lives and concerns of working people.
We are the first Congregation in Victoria to have developed out of the mission of a Unitingcare agency, based on a policy of the Uniting Church’s national Assembly, ‘Being Church Differently’. We gratefully acknowledge our formation as an alternative expression of the Church.
Our founding members were CMN Board members, staff, clients/theological students/ministers, partners of one of the above, or long-term friends of the Network. Today we are delighted to welcome all who desire a spirituality for life's fruitfulness grounded in Christian tradition.
Click on the link to read some testimonials from our members about why they are members of the Congregation.
We delight in welcoming any who wish to share our passion for living out both our personal and collective vocations.
In terms of Christian history, it is useful to realise that what we today call ‘church’ is a modern sociological construct. In the very different social reality of the early church, the meaning of the word ecclesia was simply that of a gathering of people. We learn from the letters of Paul that many of the ‘churches’ met in homes. Perhaps they were more like what today we call ‘home groups’. Certainly, in our terms they were comparatively ‘small groups’, and bear no resemblance to modern day ‘congregations’. But as the modern form of the congregation begins to pass away, it may well be that the home group movement points the way forward for a recovery of the sense of the ecclesia. Certainly, it is the case for the depressed person that the kind of ‘church’ that can be useful is the home group or small group, where bonds of intimacy mean that the kinds of social pretense that can become normal in congregations fade out of currency.
Geoffrey Lilburne, Joy Interrupted: a memoir of depression and prayer. Coventry Press, 2018. p. 65.
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