Collective Statements

CCVT is committed to a number of Shared Values and over the years has formalised and reiterated some of these commitments in statements prepared and voted on by our communities at Annual General Meetings. These statements represent the larger goals and beliefs of Churches of Christ in Vic/Tas as a movement, and all affiliated communities are invited to live them out in their context.

The following was resolved by the CCVT AGM in 2008.

That we as the Victorian and Tasmanian Conference of Churches of Christ, affirm the integrity of creation as a sign of God's creativity and compassion and therefore, as followers of God, commit ourselves to being good stewards of this world by evaluating our impact on it, and actively working for it's wellbeing.

As a sign of this stewardship, we encourage each of our Churches to undertake an environmental audit with a view to each church being carbon neutral by 2010.

Approved at the CCVT AGM, 4 May 2013.

As part of a continuing journey to express our desire for reconciliation and solidarity with the First Peoples of Australia, the Aboriginal and Islander people, Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania: 

ACKNOWLEDGES with respect the First Peoples, their nations, their elders and their families, past and present;

AFFIRMS that Australia is a land created and sustained by God and inhabited for thousands of years by the First Peoples as the custodians of the land and its resources;

EXPRESSES deep sadness and regret at the injustice and mistreatment suffered by the First Peoples as a result of European colonisation, which includes dispossession of their land and cultural losses, leading to profound suffering, grief and loss by generations of First Peoples;

CONFESSES that the Gospel witness of the Churches of Christ of Victoria and Tasmania, although well intentioned and done in a spirit of servant-hood, was at times insensitive to existing cultural and linguistic traditions and contributed to their permanent loss;

FURTHER CONFESSES we have been complicit with other non-Indigenous Australians in promoting and defending the paternalistic, racist, and economic values of the dominant society at the expense of the First Peoples and in denial of their human rights;

SAYS SORRY and seeks forgiveness for any hurt we have caused from any wrong that we have done;

REJOICES in the common humanity of all Australians, equally created in the Image of God, and in the deeper spiritual relationship shared by those who confess Jesus Christ as Lord;

STANDS in solidarity with, and give thanks for, all who pursue justice and reconciliation for the First Peoples in sincerity and truth, and welcomes dialogue that leads to action;

CONCEDES that complete justice can never be achieved as it would require restoration of all that was taken from the First Peoples;

CALLS ON all in Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania to work together with the First Peoples and with all governments and authorities to redress the wrongs of the past and help to heal the prevailing wounds inflicted in order to establish Australian society on a more just and harmonious foundation; and

URGES every church and agency affiliated with Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania to consider ways to intentionally engage with the First Peoples, in their local communities or beyond, and to consider ways in which they might support and sustain Indigenous ministry initiatives as a sign of our commitment to unity and reconciliation in the Kingdom of God.

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Prepared by the CCVT Asylum Seeker Network and approved at Council February 26, 2014, with a view to this becoming an invitation to all churches to make the same commitment through an AGM Resolution.

We affirm that Refugees and Asylum Seekers are people made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), and that their sorrow is close to the heart of God (Psalm 34:18). We acknowledge that throughout Scripture God commands that refuge, provision, protection, and justice be extended to those who seek asylum.

Historically the Church has not always stood on the side of the poor and alien, and we seek to remedy that today. We repent for our greed, our ignorance, and our lack of compassion as a nation, and as individuals, which has led to the current plight of refugees in being refused welcome in our abundant country.

We seek to participate in bringing the Kingdom of God to earth through practices of inclusion, justice, fairness, and hospitality. This is stated clearly in the Shared Value of Justice in the CCVT Statement of Purpose: We value the dignity, equality and inherent worth of all persons regardless of gender, race, economic standing or belief system. Therefore, in announcing the Kingdom and expectant of its arrival, we will work for social justice, equal opportunity for all persons.

We call on our country’s government to lead the way in responding generously to international crises which cause many people to flee their home countries; through humanising the plight of refugees and asylum seekers, through the implementation of just domestic policies, and through holding nations to account who inflict violence and human rights abuses against their own people.

We condemn government policies that seek to dehumanise and criminalise refugees and asylum seekers, and that are in breach of our international obligations under the Refugee Convention and our moral obligations under God’s law.

Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania therefore commits to:

  • Speak truth where there is misinformation
  • Critique culture when it is in opposition to human rights
  • Extend welcome and hospitality to those fleeing persecution
  • Humanise Refugees and Asylum Seekers through hearing and sharing their voices and stories
  • Advocate to the Australian Government for just, fair, and transparent treatment of those fleeing persecution.
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CCVT, at its Annual General Meeting on May 16, 2015, affirmed the following:

Violence against women is the leading cause of death, disability and illness in Australian Women aged 15-44. It is a broad societal problem that is never acceptable and cannot be justified on any grounds. One aspect of this problem is domestic and family violence, which predominantly affects women and children; between 1999 and 2010 almost 95% of perpetrators of family violence against women were male.

As people committed constitutionally to the Shared Value of Justice, we value the dignity, equality, and inherent worth of all persons regardless of gender, race, economic standing, or belief system (Genesis 1:27). Therefore, in announcing the Kingdom and expectant of its arrival, we work for social justice, equal opportunity for all persons, and the responsible care and management of the environment (From the CCVT Statement of Purpose).

Acknowledging the measures the Federal, State, and Local Governments have taken to respond to domestic violence so far, we urge them to go further in their provision of funding and resources to address the causes and outcomes.

We commit ourselves as Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania to be churches that advocate for and live out Christ’s message that men and women are created equal in God’s image (Genesis 1:27; Galatians 3:28), and will consequently work to change attitudes that contribute to the demeaning of and violence against women.

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On May 14 2016, the CCVT Inc Annual General Meeting passed the following resolution acknowledging that:

People living with disabilities[1] are people formed by God (Psalm 139) and confirmed by Jesus as being welcomed at the Kingdom table (Luke 14);

People living with disabilities have often been excluded from the community of God’s people throughout the history of the church, reflecting the social devaluation present in the society that surrounds us.

Given one of CCVT’s Shared Values is to “value the dignity, equality and inherent worth of all persons, and (to) work for their justice and equal opportunity”; and, based on a later decision by CCVT “to participate in bringing the Kingdom of God to earth through practices of inclusion, justice, fairness and hospitality”[2],

We therefore Resolve,

To seek, where appropriate, to repent of any instances of exclusion, and to become a true body of Christ where we celebrate that “those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary” (1 Corinthians 12: 22).

In so doing, we recognise that,

  • There are many obstacles, including attitudinal barriers, for people with disabilities, their families and carers, which prevent them hearing the gospel and sharing in Christian fellowship, which we have not always considered;
  • People with disabilities and their families are an important part of our churches and communities and both need our support and the opportunities to serve and be served;
  • Jesus made himself vulnerable for us (Philippians 2:7-8), and we can discover true community through the leadership of those who live with the vulnerability of disability. This contribution can bring growth to all of us and deep relationship with God and our neighbour. Jean Vanier, writing about living in community with people with an intellectual disability, says: “Loving someone means, of course, wanting to do things for them, but more essentially it means being present to them. Presence involves helping the person to see their beauty and value, to trust themselves and to grow humanly to greater maturity. Loving involves letting others see my own poverty, and giving them space to love me.”[3]
  1. And, we invite all churches and agencies affiliated with Churches of Christ in Victoria and Tasmania to:
  • Welcome the partnership that CCVT has with CBM Australia through its Luke14 initiative which provides resources and support in this commitment to inclusion;
  • Develop and implement a plan to remove those obstacles that currently prevent people living with disability from hearing the gospel and sharing in Christian fellowship;
  • Adopt proactive practices that extend welcome to people living with disability and their families into our communities and provide education to tackle the attitudes and theological issues that have brought about the exclusion experienced by many;
  • Continue to advocate for Government policy that promotes the wellbeing and interests of people with disabilities and their families and carers.
 

[1] People with disabilities includes all those living with a physical, intellectual, sensory or psychiatric disability

[2] CCVT Refugees and Asylum Seekers Statement, Annual Report 2014

[3] Jean Vanier The Heart of L’Arche: A spirituality for every day