By Andrew Humphries
As the countdown begins to Synod 2022, Uniting Church members from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are being invited to play a major role at the event.
Moderator-elect Rev David Fotheringham says the Church’s CALD members have much to contribute as the meeting discusses ways the Church can plan for the future.
David says one of the topics to be discussed at Synod 2022 will be how future meetings can be refreshed “to enhance wide involvement in the planning of our sharing of life and faith together”.
“In the Song of Songs one lover calls to the other and says, ‘Arise, come with me, for the winter is now past’,” David says.
“The 2022 meeting of the Synod hears the beckoning voice of God: Arise, come with me!
“Synod meetings are always about more than just ‘business’, as important as that is in our stewardship of God’s resources.
“More, Synod meetings are opportunities to worship, listen, network and share together.”
David hopes the voices of CALD members will ring out loud and clear and have a major impact during Synod 2022.
“For this especially we’ll be looking for the contributions and wisdom of younger and culturally diverse voices,” he says.
“Synod is a chance to meet with others across the life of the Church, that we may together be built up in faith and love.
“Our lover God calls us to arise, not alone but together and with God.”
CALD members keen to get involved should contact their Presbytery or congregation Minister, who can then nominate them.
Burwood Heights Minister Sylvia Akauola-Tongotongo was nominated by the Presbytery of Yarra Yarra to attend the 2019 Synod Meeting and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
“It is a forum where decisions about the life, welfare and wellbeing of the Synod are made,” Sylvia says.
“I was one of four Moderator’s Chaplains (who attended) and I was also a Synod Chaplain.
“I learnt a lot more about alternative insights and multiple ways of embracing, respecting and appreciating diversity in a multi-intercultural Uniting Church and I would recommend the Synod Meeting as a worthwhile experience for any young and CALD Uniting Church members.”
General Secretary Rev Dr Mark Lawrence says Synod 2022 offers a fantastic opportunity for UC members to come together as part of a Christian community.
As the major periodical decision-making body and reporting forum of the Church, Synod 2022 could be likened to an AGM.
However, Mark says this doesn’t really encompass the meeting’s unique character.
“For the days that the Synod operates, we actually form a Christian community,” he says.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity to get to know others at your table, and close by, in working groups, in coffee queues, and many other ways.
“The practice of consensus decision-making is that when we approach an issue and start exploring views, we might find a common space that is not compromise, but a new common space to be in, and move forward with a fresh and shared understanding.
“That’s something to be celebrated.”
Synod 2022 begins on June 30 at Wesley Church with opening worship and the installation of David as Moderator, with the meeting itself to run from July 1-3 at Box Hill Town Hall.