I’ve always loved anniversary weekend in the Uniting Church. This year, we celebrate 43 years since union.
You should check out Dr Deidre Palmer’s President’s Message.
As I’m only 35, I didn’t live through the union experience. I have no first-hand experience of the courage, faith, grief and hope that saw the denominations join together.
As I’m only 35, I’m representative of a small section of the Uniting Church age profile.
As I’m only 35, and having worked for the Uniting Church in various roles for 16+ years, I owe a debt to a church that has trusted me.
As I’m only 35, I hope the Uniting Church will continue to live out its divine calling for many years.
So, I’m inviting every council of the church – church, presbytery, synod & assembly, to develop a 16-year vision. How will they look, act & lead in 2037? How might they serve, witness and worship?
Don’t worry, I’ll give you 6 months. 16-year vision statements are due January 1, 2021.
Why 16 years?
Not sure. I heard once that it was 16 years from when Jørn Utzon submitted his plans for the Sydney Opera House until it’s completion. And most significantly, the technology needed to build Utzon’s plans wasn’t designed yet.
It also removes personal interest. 16 years will see ministers move placements multiple times, over 50% of our current ministry cohort will have retired, families will likely have relocated. It liberates our vested interest.
It also remains tangible. It’s not that far away. I’ll only be 52.
When there is no clear prophetic vision, people quickly wander astray. (Proverbs 29:18)
We owe a great debt to those who forged union, and those who have served since. How might we continue to be an authentically Australian church?
I invite you to ponder how we might make decisions if our 16-year vision was given as much consideration as our Basis of Union? If we genuinely made decisions for those who are not yet part of our number?
We’ve survived Covid-19 restrictions. So as we re-connect, let’s focus our energies and enthusiasms for the next generations.
I will pour out my Spirit on everybody and cause your sons and daughters to prophesy, and your young men will see visions, and your old men will experience dreams from God. (Acts 2:17)
To get you started, here are a few of my ‘visions’
- 1 in 3 suburban churches will be renovated to offer affordable housing
- 1 in 5 suburban churches will be sold to fund ministry with young people
- Every congregation using solar panel – how is this not a thing already?
- UAICC will be funded to achieve full autonomy
- All ministry agents will be employed at presbytery/regional level (removes the hindrance of ministers preaching to their employers/payroll staff)
- Every UCA school will host a congregation & operate a micro-service-agency serving local disadvantaged (meals, maintenance, education, etc)
Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9)
Bradon French, Youth Ministry guy
* and don’t worry, our polity means I can’t require any council to do anything.