Executive officer of the Schools and Residential Colleges Commission Dr Daniel Pampuch outlined the importance of developing tangible links between educational institutions and the church in his report to the 32nd Synod.
Citing the 18 organisations, 17 500 students and 1000 staff with whom the commission works, Daniel said “this is a very big mission field in terms of reaching the next generation. These are people we may never have come into contact with except that they choose to engage with one of our institutions.”
The executive officer told Synod about the work of the commission to provide clarity around legal and governance issues, on the management of critical incidents, and with the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
He also described how the commission is dovetailing with the work of chaplaincy and about the ongoing development of the Active Faith program where local churches are partnering with residential colleges.
Daniel said that the support and services provided to schools and colleges should reflect the value-add approach of being connected to the Uniting Church in Australia.
“We need to make sure that the Uniting Church is seen as a place that brings much to these communities,” he said.
“In this transient 21st century such connections will become increasingly important to building and sustaining relationships long enough to be of impact. This unique missional opportunity can be enhanced by providing excellence of service and opportunity for children to experience sacramental worship, receive Christian education and, God willing, to enter into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
The report was received by Synod through consensus. The Synod passed a proposal noting that Rev David McGregor will step down as chairperson of the Schools and Residential Colleges Commission at the conclusion of the 32nd Synod after eight years of faithful service.
Minutes of appreciation were received by acclamation for Rev David McGregor and Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association chairperson Des Robinson.