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The Churches of Christ in Australia is a Christian movement in Australia. It is part of the Restoration Movement with historical influences from the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

The Churches of Christ in Australia are made up of State Conferences which are an association of independent churches who choose to relate at a state and national level. Within this conference structure, individual churches are largely autonomous and operate on a congregational and democratic form of government. Leadership varies in local churches and where there are ministers or pastor they may or may not be formally ordained. Lay people usually play an important part in the worship, mission, governance and management of the church.

Key features of the church's worship are the weekly celebration of the Lord's Supper presided over by a lay person and believer's baptism. The denomination claims to "concentrate on the essential aspects of the Christian faith, allowing for a diversity of understanding with non-essentials." It is active in community services and supporting Christian unity, although this emphasis was stronger historically.

Churches of Christ is one of the smaller denominations by membership figures in Australia, but has a higher attendance ranking. The 2001 Census showed a membership of 61,335. Of the total population of Australia, only 0.3% state religious affiliation with Churches of Christ. This is compared with 69.3% who bear religious affiliation of any Christian denomination. The National Church Life Survey 2001 showed that Churches of Christ had the highest attendance to affiliates percentage. The survey showed a regular estimated attendance of 45,100 (74%). This shows an obvious difference to percentage of identified members regularly attending, when compared to mainstream denominations such as Anglican (5%) and Catholic (15%) churches. Churches of Christ's membership is small, but holding higher attendance.

Contents

Worship and devotion

Key features are the weekly celebration of the Lord's Supper presided over by a lay person and a commitment to believer's baptism.

Ministry and mission

The church is active in community services and the ecumenical movement.

National cooperative ministries (which are called 'National Agencies') include Global Mission Partners (formerly the Australian Churches of Christ Overseas Mission Board), the Churches of Christ Theological College, the Australian Churches of Christ Indigenous Ministries, the Defence Force Chaplains Committee, Youth Vision Australia and the National Media and Communications Department.

Theology and values

The denomination claims to "concentrate on the essential aspects of the Christian faith, allowing for a diversity of understanding with non-essentials."

Theological education and formation occurs at the:

  • Churches of Christ Theological College (CCTC), located in Melbourne is the group's national theological college. Its courses are accredited by the Melbourne College of Divinity. CCTC was formerly known as the College of the Bible, and was located at Glen Iris before the Monash Freeway was constructed over where it stood. The college celebrated its centenary in 2007.
  • Australian College of Ministries is a joint venture between New South Wales and Queensland Churches of Christ Conferences, and provides training in New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia and in England. Its courses are taught as part of the Sydney College of Divinity, with accreditation provided through state education departments.

Ordination, which is bestowed by the State Conferences, is open to both men and women.

History and heritage

It is part of the Restoration Movement with historical influences from the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

There is a Federal Historical Society.

Churches of Christ in Queensland

A small group met in Albion, Brisbane in 1871, however it was not until 1 August 1882 that C.M. Fischer and T Geraghty established the first Church of Christ in Queensland at the Zillman Waterholes (now Zillmere, Queensland ). [1] The Ann Street Church of Christ was established in 1883 [2] and moved into its present building in Brisbane's CBD in 1898.[3]

Structure

The State Conferences are: Victoria and Tasmania, New South Wales, South Australia and the Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory.

The Churches of Christ Provident Fund was established to support paid ministers. Most of its role has been handed over to the non-denominational Christian Super fund.

Affiliations

External links

References

  1. ^ Haigh, George (1983). 100 Years Venturing in Faith. Brisbane: E K Williams Pty Ltd. p. 9. ISBN 0 909116 38 5.  
  2. ^ A century of witness, 1883-1983 / by Norman Watson
  3. ^ Brisbane Travel Guide
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