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Families of those ministers who have passed away since the 32nd Synod during the celebration of ministries. Photo: Supplied

Passing the baton

As the third evening of the 33rd Synod came to a conclusion, members rose to their feet to sing “Lift High to the Cross” as the Celebration of Ministries commenced.

Minutes of appreciation were received to retiring ministers with a short summary presented for each person: Rev Christopher Barr, Rev Russell Clark, Rev Dr Malcolm Coombes, Rev David Fanning, Rev Lynne Gibson, Rev Robert Harriman, Rev Ivan Kirk, Rev Russell Knight, Rev Raymond Nutley, Rev Bruce Raymond, Rev Jenny Sims and Rev Ian Smallbone.

Rev Raymond Nutley spoke on behalf of the retired ministers.

“I want to say on behalf of all of us who are retiring a very big thank you to the whole of Synod for the privilege of being able to serve God’s people through the church.

“We have some of the greatest people that we have served, and the privilege that the church has given us to go out on their behalf and serve and minister the people of God, don’t underestimate that.”

Trinity College Queensland principal Dr Leigh Trevaskis introduced those ordained since the 32nd Synod: Rev Nathan Barton, Rev Michelle Cullen, Rev Sharene Fechner, Rev Aaron Moad, Rev David Nix, Rev Glen Schweitzer, Rev Beatriz Skippen, Rev Janet Staines and Rev Adam Tipple.

Rev Janet Staines spoke on behalf of the newly ordained ministers: “We stand before you humbled by the fact we’re not just witnessing to our story but we’re witnessing to the story of the church and we’re witnessing to a much larger story where Christ has been witnessed in the church.”

Memorial minutes were presented for ministers who have passed away since the 32nd Synod: Rev Wilfred Blake, Rev Dr Judith Dalton, Rev Richard Diffin, Rev Jack Frewen-Lord, Rev Arnold Gates, Rev Raymond Hunt, Rev Douglas Kirkup, Rev Francis Le Bherz, Rev Douglas McKenzie, Rev Margaret Mills, Rev Robert Morgan, Rev Albert Quant, Rev Phillip Ramsay, Rev Gordon Robinson, Rev Graham Ross, Rev Edward Smith, Rev Prof Han Spykerboer, Rev Brian Wells and Rev Maxwell Vines.

Rev Anne Hulbert and Rev David Fender read a brief biography of each deceased minister which illuminated the strong dedication to the Cross—as well as the embodiment of the Uniting Church’s values—shared between them.

Rev David Baker closed the evening with a prayer of thanks and led the room for an affirmation of faith.

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