29th Synod: Together on the Way, Enriching Community

Photo by Osker Lau

AFTER FIVE days, members of the 29th Synod of the Uniting Church in Queensland closed the meeting in worship on Wednesday 12 October, 2011, at Alexandra Park Conference Centre on the Sunshine Coast.

More than 340 voting members from all over the Church in Queensland joined visitors, staff and volunteers to celebrate the work of God through the Church and discern the direction of the whole Synod.

Members of the 29th Synod made several big decisions that impact the whole Uniting Church in Queensland in an effort to actively live out our 2020 Vision.

Proposals passed to assist the Synod to be better organised for mission included a “re-invigoration” of the Synod Standing Committee (SSC), adopting a new model for the Standing Committee based on competence rather than representation.

Ordained ministers elected to the new SSC were David Baker, Linda Hamill, Garry Hardingham, Lu Senituli, and David Won Kim.

Lay members elected to the SSC were Greg Adsett, John Agnew, Geoff Batkin, Allan Hanson, and Roberta Stanley.

Ex-officio members are theModerator, General Secretary, chair of the UnitingCare Board and thechair of the Synod Finance, Investmentand Property Board, Chair of the Board of Christian Formationand, to reflect the covenanting agreement with the Uniting Aboriginaland Islander Christian Congress, a nominee of Congress in Queensland.

In passing the proposal fora Governance Nomination Remuneration Committee (GNRC) theChair of this committee will also be an ex-officio member of SSC.

The 29th Synod nominated Rev Dr Anita Monro and Rev Dr Chris Walker for the position of President-elect of the National Assembly.

These names will be added to the list of worthy nominees for the positionof President-elect which will be determined next July at the 13th National Assembly in Adelaide.

The Synod elected 18 representatives to the 13th Assembly.

Ministers going to the Assembly meeting are Lynette Burden, Stu Cameron, Michelle Cook, Heather Griffin, Peter Lockhart, David MacGregor, Viliami Mila, Josie Nottle, and Lu Senituli.

Lay members are John Agnew, Lauren Ash, Jenny Brecknell, Hayden Gaffel, Tegan Gaffel, Matt Gees, Andrew Johnson, Monique Mawbey, and Elaine Rae.

Ex-officio members are the Moderator and General Secretary.

Members of the 29th Synod also asked the SSC, as part of the continuing Together on the way, enriching community journey, to consider options for changes to presbytery structures to help resource mission, look at how the Synod can support a justice advocate (and what that might look like) and look into making specific funding available for youth and young adult events.

General Proposal 5 brought by Jan Bryde and Bruce Cornish (regarding lobbying the Government to maintain tuberculosis clinics in the Torres Strait) was made stronger and passed by consensus.

A moving moment was shared as Synod members made an apology to our Indigenous brothers and sisters who still live with the pain of past abuse or mistreatment experienced while living in institutional care provided by the church and its agencies in years gone by, particularly in Aurukun, far north Queensland.

Amongst the decision making, the meeting was filled with (and surrounded by) prayer and worship as well as a celebration of those in ministry and the invaluable volunteers within the church.

Members heard of the struggles of our partner churches in Fiji and Tuvalu from UnitingWorld’s Bruce Mullan.

Bible studies by Rev Dr Chris Walker, National Consultant in Theology and Discipleship, challenged members to equip people for deeper discipleship.

Old friendships were sustained, new friendships began and all present heard stories of God at work throughout the whole church in Queensland and the world.

The thankyous included a standing ovation for Moderator, Rev Kaye Ronalds, General Secretary, Dr Shirley Coulson, and Business Committee Convener, Andrew Johnson.

Synod members were also very appreciative of all the volunteers and staff who planned and attended the meeting and the staff of Alexandra Park Conference Centre.

To the strains of the song “How then shall I live?”

Moderator, Rev Kaye Ronalds, sent Synod members back to their own communities with the challenge to continue to live out God’s call and the discerned 2020 Vision for the Uniting Church in Queensland.

Photo : Photo by Osker Lau