ON FRIDAY 21 May 2010 the 28th Synod began at Alexandra Park Conference Centre, Alexandra Headland, with a service of celebration of the diversity of the Uniting Church in Queensland.
As the didgeridoo called people to worship, those present were blessed with water dipped branches and joyous calls in a Kabi Kabi (the local indigenous people) welcome to country accompanied by three part a cappella singing.
Rodney Minniecon said they had never had the privilege of doing such a ceremony at a Synod opening before. Mr Minniecon asked elder Aunty Val to officially welcome those gathered.
She spoke of the “coming of the light”, when Christianity was brought to this land.
“We all belong to one father. We all belong to that man who died on the cross.
“I honour you and welcome you all to this very special place – the land of the Kabi Kabi people.”
Greetings, liturgy and songs were led in a variety of languages.
Members of the Fijian, Malayan, Tongan, Korean, Samoan, Papua New Guinean and Sudanese Uniting Churches proceded into the hall each singing different traditional worship songs in their own language.
Queensland Synod Moderator Rev Bruce Johnson welcomed people to the whole body of Christ and encouraged people to sing in a language other than their own throughout the evening. He said he wanted to honour people and allow them to worship in their mother tongue.
“We want to celebrate what it means to us to be a multicultural church,” he said.
Greetings were brought from eight different cultural groups (Burma, Fiji, Malaysia, Tonga, Samoa, PNG, Sudan) within the Church in Queensland, all in their own language.
Four members of the Korean congregation of the Uniting Church in Brisbane performed a beautiful song and dance.
As prayers were shared, the silk rainbow backdrop was removed colour by colour and stretched among the people present.
Mr Johnson asked members of the 28th Synod to dig deep in the exploration of faith.
“We are invited to munch on the body of Christ,” he said. “We need to really struggle and engage with the Scriptures and look at the person Jesus from every angle, not just the perspective we think is right.”
He said the rise of the desire and number of Uniting Church members exploring and studying the scriptures brought him great joy and hope for the future of the Church in Queensland.