The 32nd Synod of the Uniting Church in Queensland has closed how it begun, in a celebration of the rich cultural diversity of the church.
Rev David MacGregor opened closing worship by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which the Synod gathered, the Gubbi Gubbi people.
Stillness descended over the meeting as members watched a short video called Deep Waters by Trisha Watts and prepared to go back to their own communities.
After listening to the Synod Bible studies this week, moderator Rev David Baker said he was called to reflect on beauty.
He asked the congregation to contemplate what would it look like to be generators of spaces of beauty and grace, and for that to be all we were worried about.
David urged people to express what has drawn them to Christ.
“We should be generating that in our life and let the truth behind that be revealed in beauty.
“Can our communities be truly beautiful if we are worried about ourselves?” he asked. “I don’t think we can.
“If we are worried about ourselves I think it is a self-limiting phenomenon.
“Think about what you are looking towards. What beauty are you being called to create?”
In an open time of declaration and affirmation people finished the statement: “we serve God who calls us to _”.
Responses included we serve a God who calls us to silence and solidarity, to love our neighbour as ourselves, to be discerning, to put “he” before “me”, to love the unlovable, to welcome the stranger, to repent of the idols in our lives and to challenge, affirm, encourage and grow ourselves and others, to fight for justice, a God who mothers and nurtures us, a God who reminds us that we are one blood.
Music included a new song written for the event by David MacGregor called “On purpose”.
The congregation shared communion together before dispersing to their own corners of the church, hopefully with an appreciation of the breadth and depth of the Uniting Church in Queensland and its diverse beauty.
To close, the Synod sung the Wesley hymn “And Can It Be, That I Should Gain?” in full voice.
David Baker invited someone from each board and commission, presbytery, UnitingCare Queensland and Wesley Mission Brisbane to take a candle and light it from the center candle on the communion table to remind them of their connectedness to the wider church.
He sent the people out saying “may the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us” and the congregation sang a new song written by David Busch called “Benediction” singing the words: “God to guide you, Christ beside you, peace be with you.”
This service ends five days of hearing reports of the work of the church from varied places, debating ideas, discerning where the church should focus its energy heading towards 2020 and meeting new and old friends.