Navigating cultures across generations

By Sam Chan

Posted in Culture

Growing up between two different worlds can be tricky – yet this is a position many people living in Australia today find themselves in.

Those who have moved to Australia as adults (first generation), or are people born in Australia to immigrant parents (second generation or “Next Gen”), often find themselves straddling the divide between Australian culture and the culture of their own or their parents’ birthplace.

According to the 2016 National Church Life Survey, 18% of people attending Uniting Churches in South Australia were born overseas; 7% speak a language other than English at home. Second generation members also represent a fast-growing part of the Uniting Church community.

The ways in which migrant churches practise their faith is very diverse and relevant to the first generation cultural heritage. Next Gen are growing up in these migrant churches. But while the migrant churches are often exciting, growing communities, they do not always meet the unique needs, challenges and strengths of second generation Australians. Next Gen culture is different from first generation cultural heritage.

From Friday 25 to Sunday 27 August, the Uniting Church will hold a conference to explore the unique make-up of Next Gen members and the challenges they face. One-Two: What’s Next? will be held at Experience Café, CitySoul, on Hutt Street in Adelaide.

The conference will provide CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) and Next Gen members of the Uniting Church with an opportunity to consider their faith formation, what their faith looks like within different cultural contexts, and how to engage with one another. Much of the material discussed will be raised by the conference delegates, guided by their own experiences and stories of growing up in migrant churches.

All are welcome to attend One-Two: What’s Next? and join this important, ongoing discussion. For more information about the conference, please visit or contact Sam Chan via email at

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