Wesley Mission Queensland (WMQ) superintendent minister Rev Lyn Burden and CEO Geoff Batkin used a number of personal stories via video in their Synod presentation to highlight the organisation’s ongoing commitment to reaching vulnerable people.
Their report noted that the activities since the 32nd Synod have taken place within the context of one of the most profound periods of reform and structural change for the aged care and community services sectors in 30 years.
Along with the re-branding of Wesley Mission Brisbane to Wesley Mission Queensland, WMQ has continued to expand its services and to explore flexible and innovative models of care.
“We have changed our name but not who we are,” Lyn told Synod. “As part of the Uniting Church our focus is to participate in God’s mission of reconciliation, transformation, justice and hope. We do this by walking alongside people, especially those in most need, with compassion and care.”
Geoff introduced some of the new projects since last Synod, including the establishment of Hummingbird House, Queensland’s only children’s hospice and Asher House, which is home to 12 young people living with high-care needs.
WMQ now has five supported accommodation facilities for young to middle-aged adults living with high care needs.
WMQ continues to develop expertise in the provision of support and care services for people living with disabilities and mental illness in anticipation of the 2018 rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
“Over the next five years there is a possibility for 1200 young and middle-aged adults currently living in aged care in Queensland alone, to be placed in more suitable accommodation. Wouldn’t it be amazing if our Uniting Church could actually provide a very significant part of that?” said Geoff.
Synod also heard about WMQ’s plans in the aged care sector, with an expansion underway at John Wesley Gardens in Brisbane and the construction of Dovetree at Sinnamon Village.
“Buildings are really important in residential aged care but what’s far more important are the hands, the feet, the staff, the volunteers. It’s all about relationship, it’s all about getting to know the person, what matters to them, what brings meaning in their life,” said Geoff.
The report to Synod also outlined some of the existing and potential partnerships between WMQ and congregations.
“Wherever we can, we seek to work in partnership with Uniting Church congregations where there is a shared call to ministry … it’s a significant part of our work and a great opportunity for churches that might have surplus land in a variety of places,” said Geoff.