MEMBERS OF the 28th Synod overwhelmingly supported the nomination of Dr Shirley Coulson as the next General Secretary of the Queensland Synod.
She will be the first Lay person to hold the position.
Dr Coulson is a deeply committed member of the Uniting Church who has sought to live out her faith over many years through her involvement within her local congregation as well as in her employment within Catholic education with Sisters of Mercy.
She has a strong background in the Catholic education system, including time as Acting Principal and Deputy Principal at All Hallows’ School in Brisbane.
As a committed member of Uniting Church congregations in two states Shirley has endeavoured to live a life of worship, witness and service in a range of challenging contexts.
In particular, these include trying to assist congregation members of Mia Mia – Kyneton to build each other up in love where there was deep division and conflict about ministerial expectations and understandings of the Church’s role in service to the wider community.
As rural and now metropolitan worshipping communities face declining numbers, Dr Coulson has worked as a church leader to sustain members in hope and address the realities of re-visioning their mission as a people of God embracing the Basis of Union imperative to continual renewal and constant reform under Christ’s word.
Most recently this has involved taking a leadership role in the formation of the Kairos cluster of Uniting Church congregations (Clayfield/Hamilton, Wavell/Geebung and Toombul District).
Moderator Rev Bruce Johnson prayed for God to continue to provide grace and support for Dr Coulson while in this role, which she will begin in early 2011.
Dr Coulson senses this as a call of God to use her gifts and experience gained while working within schools that are guided by a strong theological imperative and apply them to her own Church at this time.
Dr Coulson’s referees spoke highly of her faith commitment and her capacity to help school communities embrace the changes that were necessary for them to be effective in the current educational and social environment.
Photo : The next Queensland Synod General Secretary Shirley Coulson. Photo by Osker Lau