Day 3 was largely devoted to working through proposals still outstanding and hear from the Facilitation Group, which reported on feedback from working groups in relation to a discussion following Friday night’s presentation on “Arising, Journeying and Moving Forward”.
Rev Ian Ferguson and Rev Jay Robinson (who later was given a Minute of Appreciation for her work as Nominations Committee Chair) presented the feedback, which was divided into four sections: Signs Of Spring, Emerging From Winter, Synod Priorities, and What Do We Take Home?
Some of the “takeaways” included:
- The need to provide worship in different places other than just on Sundays, fully utilising modern technology.
- Resolving some of the competing priorities between the needs of property and mission.
- How we can best support non-geographical and online communities.
- Leaving behind the idea that the Church’s mission is to preserve and protect – in short, to survive.
- Desire to celebrate and honour what is being done.
- How Synod can further support congregations.
- Providing a central resource for storytelling about initiatives in congregational life and witness.
- Celebrate “endings”, such as the closing of a congregation, and not make them negative events.
The outstanding proposals that were carefully considered, discussed and resolved were:
- Process for setting the ministerial stipend and related allowances.
- Succession planning and leadership development. We need to ensure that institutional memory and broad Church experience is passed across the generations. This needs to be done in clear, transparent and practical ways to ensure the gift that God has given us in the Uniting Church in Australia continues to stand in its unique and wonderful space for the glory of God.
- Ministry pathways. The Ministry & Mission Committee was requested to report to the next Synod meeting regarding the breadth, opportunities, and challenges for effectively facilitating lay and ordained ministry pathways.
- Ecumenical engagement with Pentecostalism. Matt Julius said as a Church we are called to “acknowledge with humility and penitence the ways our ecumenical engagements have, and continue to, exclude certain voices: particularly the voices of non-Western churches and the voices of the poor”.
Another item of note was announcing the members elected to the Standing Committee. They are Lisa Carey, John Diprose, Helen Geard, Cathie Halliwell, Matt Julius, Rev Ikani Vaitohi and Jacob Westley. These Standing Committee members join other elected members who are part-way through their term, along with the ex-officio members: Moderator; ex-Moderator; General Secretary; UAICC Tasmania representative.
The Synod meeting concluded with a worship service that included a commissioning of people elected to various Synod committees and roles and Holy Communion.
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