Day three of the 32nd Synod closed with a celebration of ministries as Rev David Baker started proceedings with a call to worship; Psalm 100.
Minutes of appreciation were received to retiring ministers: Rev Subramaniam Manopavan, Rev Hohaia Matthews, Rev May Morris, Rev Jan Rossow, Rev Costa Stathakis, Rev Dr Paul Walton, Rev Ian Wilson, Rev Peter Aay, Rev Lloyd Beynon, Rev John Case, Rev Judith Dalton, Rev Kate Dix, Rev Jackson Gill and Rev Heather Griffin.
The Synod heard of the wide array of national and professional service of these people both as ministers and in previous professions, demonstrating the diversity of experiences of those in the church.
Rev Dr Paul Walton spoke on behalf of the retiring ministers with a candid reminder that their experiences were a mix of both ups and downs.
“I read recently of a married couple who were coming up to their 20th anniversary and, as they thought of it, [realised] five of those 20 years had not been what anyone could call happy. But they decided to celebrate the whole thing; the ups and the downs, all of it, together.
“I dare say that all of us here … would say that there were some down periods in our time in ministry, but moderator, we give thanks to God, the Holy Trinity, for the whole thing; for the ups and the downs, every single one of those years.”
Members heard of seven newly ordained ministers since the 31st Synod in 2014: Rev Catherine Solomon, Rev Jennifer Potter, Rev Wendy McHugh, Rev Matthew Hogg, Rev Matthew O’Donoguhue, Rev Anna Ashby and Rev Tevita Unga Takai.
Rev Catherine Solomon spoke on behalf of the newly ordained and gave thanks to their mentors, supervisors, congregations, presbyteries, lecturers, librarian staff, formation input guests, Jason at the Synod office café, the community of students, friends and family.
“We thank you once again everyone for your support, us newbies are mighty happy to be this side of the process, but please be assured that we look faithfully to live out God’s call on our lives to lead and serve Christ’s church, seeking the holy spirit’s guidance, now and into the future,” she said.
Members remembered and celebrated the service of those who have passed away since the 31st Synod. They are Rev Aubrey Baker, Rev Adrienne Dempster, Rev Ian Florence, Rev Joe Gunders, Rev David Lowry, Rev Dr Ian Mavor, Rev Don McKay, Rev Ron Smith, Rev Nevin Stoddart, Rev Deane Tietzel, Rev Paul Trigge, Rev John Tully and Rev David Wiltshire.
Rev Heather den Houting and Rev Suzie Castle shared of some of the work of each deceased minister. A portrait of personal qualities consistent with the Uniting Church was sharply rendered: faithfulness, humility, love, compassion, graciousness and a commitment to God’s mission.
The evening concluded with “May the feet of God walk with you” ringing throughout the room.