It seems that the Uniting Church is coming to terms with its looming fate. Unfortunately they are not seeing that the cause of its decline is its own apostasy. People have deserted the UCA because it has too long been preaching a gospel that is not from the Bible- acceptance of homosexual marriage, acceptance of abortion, salvation by "niceness" rather than by faith.
Ironically, I believe the UC could turn around and return to its former glory but only through repentance from the top down.
Niall Reid advocates a kind of underground movement led by "worker priests" but that will be just more of the same until they recover the true gospel.
Here is the article from the SMH
Church may profit from doom
Sinners' market … Niall Reid says the church should let go of its "sacred spaces".
Linda Morris Religious Affairs Writer
September 30, 2008
THE head of the Uniting Church in NSW has implored his church to start selling its underutilised churches, manses and halls and give the proceeds to the poor and disadvantaged.
Faced with dwindling congregations and conceding the church could all but disappear in 30 years, the Reverend Niall Reid says the church should let go of its "holy, sacred spaces as beautiful as they may be" and work to establish an "underground" community of faithful that connects with the spiritual needy in pubs, on beaches and in shopping malls.
His radical vision was presented at the Uniting Church's annual meeting at Canterbury Racecourse at the weekend and comes as the church recently valued its property assets including schools and aged care facilities at $3.9 billion. With land, the assets of the church could be double that.
But owning property that is hardly used or is inefficient or ineffective was like burying resources for ministry "in a hole in the ground", he said. Selling church property might add renewed vitality in the church or, without a shopfront, the church experiment could fail but at least it would go out with a "blast, not a whimper".
"I think it is about time we started selling our assets, giving to the poor literally and in the sense of using our resources to help people experience the kingdom of God because they experience it in our life, in our conviction, in the priority we give to others and not ourselves.
"It is about letting go; it is about letting them [churches] be resources not there to serve us, but to serve the community we live in – I do not believe that in our time we can afford too many places that are designated as untouchable, holy, sacred spaces, as beautiful as they may be – as we worship God together we can create sacred places and times at very little cost."
Mr Reid suggests that church property could be sold to fund ministries in disadvantaged areas. Alternatively, some churches could better share their assets with the community, providing space rent-free.
A remodelled church might also include fewer paid ministers and more worker priests who hold down a full or part-time job and juggle their role as spiritual adviser.
"Where we are not reliant on maintaining unsuitable buildings and paying stipends and providing manses we may find we come closer to entering the kingdom of God, our image of the church will change – not the steepled building in every suburb adorned with Uniting Church logo – but rather the image of the underground church – communities of faith in homes, workplaces, in coffee shops, shopping malls, parks, pubs, on beaches, existing without the need for council approval or building permits."
These decisions had the ability to set the Uniting Church apart: "If we start using our resources to work towards developing an underground church now, in 20 years we may not be so rich, having used up our resources, but just possibly we will be experiencing a wonderful harvest of people and riches of a different order."