The Paddington congregation is mostly made up of younger adults (aged 25-45) and families, many of whom come from outside the immediate area. It has a tradition of theologically progressive, culturally-engaged Christianity with a strong interest in local and international justice issues.
In our worship life, we use liturgical resources from around the world, and some liturgies written by our own members. We encourage all members to be involved in leading worship, including the opportunity to create liturgies and deliver sermons.
Our fortnightly midweek study group holds dinner discussions, movie visits and other cultural sessions in the quest for an informed faith and a deepened community life.
In addition to the Worship Life, the programs run by the church are:
Paddington Markets: an exciting and unique mix of 250 eccentric and colourful artists, designers and craft makers retailing contemporary artworks and innovative products. The Markets are a magnet for Sydney’s street culture, with street performers creating an atmosphere that is off beat, fun and uniquely Paddington for the past 40 years. Paddington Markets were recently awarded ‘Best Weekend Market in Sydney’.
Eastside Arts: a cultural arts centre of performing and visual arts events. The church hosts its own events and welcomes community groups looking for an attractive and affordable venue for concerts, seminars and exhibitions. The Church’s celebration of the gift of creativity is also expressed through the significant artworks permanently displayed in the church.
Paddington Children’s Centre: one of the flagship children’s centres in the UnitingCare services of the Uniting Church, PCC cares for some 80 children aged 0-5, and has a high reputation for excellence.
Paddington Uniting Church Mental Health service: providing bulk- billed psychiatric assistance for the local community.
Since the change in operations of the Eddie Dixon Drop-in Centre, PUC Council has been exploring possibilities for a new Social Enterprise venture including community mental health support groups and refugee assistance. Stay tuned for more information.
Paddington’s facilities are also regularly used by a range of community groups on an ongoing basis, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and dance classes; one-off bookings are also frequently made, including several weddings per year.
Paddington Uniting Church is founded on a commitment to life. That is not as simple a statement as it seems.
The good news that God wills abundant life for all people and all creation is the news we seek to uphold in both word and action. We do this because we have experienced what that abundance means, and we believe it makes all the difference in the world.
Abundance is often taken as material plenty, but the meaning we hold too is that life is experienced at its best when we are part of a community that explores meaningful answers to our deepest questions, allows all people to feel at home, serves the world in ways that alleviate hardship and subvert the causes of that hardship, and provides for the expression of people’s gifts and desires. Putting all of the above thoughts another way, we believe that abundant life is about faith, inclusiveness, justice and creativity.
At the centre of all that Paddington Uniting Church does is a worshipping community. The Markets, Eastside Arts, the Child Care Centre – they are all here because there is a Church here. These community programs are an expressions of the church’s life in the community, meeting needs, providing hospitality, supporting creative endeavours – encouraging the whole community to experience abundant life.
We are a community of people who gather to worship God and explore our Christian faith in a critical manner relevant to our context. Conscious of the particular challenges involved in witnessing to the life of Jesus Christ in the inner city of Sydney we seek to shape our lives in the following ways:
We seek to be an open and welcoming community of all people, especially those marginalised in our society due to their sexual orientation, gender, race, age, poverty and mental or emotional well being. We look for the full participation of all people in the life of the Church.
We are committed to working for justice, particularly with those who are marginalised in the inner city, such as people without homes or those left in poverty, indigenous peoples and minority groups who suffer discrimination.
We seek to actively explore the resources offered through all forms of human creativity, particularly as expressed in the arts, in support of our faith and mission.