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Synod meeting: a new venue and big changes

New conference facilities at Alexandra Park will be the venue for the 26th Synod. Photo by Ian Edgar

The newly extended conference facilities at Alexandra Headland on the Sunshine Coast will be the venue for the 26th meeting of the Queensland Synod in May.

“Dare to discover, dream, design and deliver” is the theme chosen by Moderator Rev Dr David Pitman for a gathering which will make some key decisions about the future of Synod leadership and theological education for lay and ordained people.

The Synod will also appoint a new General Secretary and elect the next Moderator who will commence duties when Dr Pitman’s term finishes in the second half of 2008.

Dr Pitman says he has observed “a new spirit alive in our church”.

“It is most apparent in the determination of ministers and congregations to be focussed and intentional about those things that declare the reign of God,” he said.

Dr Pitman explained the choice of the theme. “To dare is to risk for God in faith; to discover is to discern the mind of Christ for the mission and ministry of the church: to dream is to engage all our faculties to imagine the possibilities of being a Jesus-centred people; to design is to pray and plan for an intelligent and effective response to all the opportunities available to us to share the Good News in word and action; and to deliver is to engage in ministry and mission with passion and determination.

As Moderator Dr Pitman reports that his visits to congregations have been a real source of encouragement to him.

“There are so many situations where growth is evident, where all the generations are well represented, where the worship is thoroughly prepared and competently led, and where there is ample evidence of congregations taking their mission and outreach seriously.”

He has also observed close relationships between many congregations and UnitingCare agencies.

Synod decisions to be made will include the appointment of members to a newly established Synod Multi-Cross Cultural Committee and a re-established Finance, Investment and Property Board, and the creation of positions for an Associate General Secretary and an Executive Officer to the Synod Schools’ Commission.

A report from the Council of Synod recommends greater separation, realignment and enhancement of the functions of the Finance, Investment and Property Board (oversight function) and the Department for Financial and Property Services
(service function).

It proposes greater emphasis on and co-ordination of resources and strategic planning through the Synod Leadership Team and the roles of the General Secretary and Moderator with the support of a revamped Finance, Investment and Property Board.

This report will also propose extending moderatorial appointments to six years.

A report from the Theological Education Task Group first established by the 23rd Synod in 2002 will be proposing one new integrated institution to incorporate both Trinity Theological College and a new learning community to provide educational opportunities including continuing education for lay and specified ministries.

The Synod will also recognise seven new ordinations, 12 lay workers commissioned, 20 retirements and 14 deaths of ministers since the 25th Synod.

The new Alexandra Park facilities have added 360 square metres to the size of the main auditorium.

The room can seat 500 but has the flexibility to be divided into two rooms.

Mission Support Entreprises Manager Mr Mark Lee said the new facilities featured high quality fittings and placed Alexandra Park Conference Centre at the top of the industry standard for this kind of facility.

“We will open the auditorium through to the dining room allowing all 400 Synod members to be seated at round tables in the one room and provide the very latest in audiovisual and technological support,” Mr Lee said.

Synod reports will be available online in April. Click here to go to the Synod website.

Photo : New conference facilities at Alexandra Park will be the venue for the 26th Synod. Photo by Ian Edgar