In an innovative move to increase accessibility for congregation leaders outside the Brisbane metropolitan area the Synod has established a 1300 local call telephone number for people wishing to access Synod services and staff.
Synod Communication Services Unit Manager Bruce Mullan explained that previously, for most Uniting Church congregations and members in Queensland, a telephone call to the Synod Office was an STD call charged by the time taken for the call.
“Now whether they are phoning from Mount Isa, Maryborough or Morayfield, people will be able to call the Synod Office for 20 cents.”
Mr Mullan praised the Department for Financial and Property Services for both resourcing the cost of the 1300 service and for undertaking the negotiations to get the unique Uniting Church number.
“I sometimes have trouble with my own phone number but even I can remember 1300 UCAQLD and it fits beautifully with our www.ucaqld.com.au web address.”
Synod General Manager Operations Stephen Costello said the number is active and claims the service will be excellent in terms of easy access for rural people.
“People can reach us at negligible cost using one central number that references the church by name and everyone can remember,” he said.
People using the 1300 number will initially be greeted by Richelle Watkins on the Synod switchboard and then transferred to the appropriate department or person who can assist with the enquiry.
“I think it’s a very necessary service especially for people up North because since I’ve been living down here even I forget that there is so much else going on around the state,” said Richelle who grew up in Mount Isa.
North Queensland Presbytery Minister Rev Bruce Cornish believes the 1300 number is a positive move.
“What it will say to people in North Queensland is, ‘Hey, we’re thinking about you guys and we recognise that there is an extra cost that we don’t have in the south-east corner that you do and we want to subsidise that’,” he said.
“It’s a pastoral action and my hope is that the new 1300 number will be seen as a statement that this is not just a South East Queensland church but a state-wide church.”
Mr Mullan encourages people in the Brisbane local telephone area not to use the 1300 UCAQLD number but to continue to use the old 07 3377 9777 number for Synod business.
1300 UCAQLD is 1300 822 753
Photo : Richelle Watkins on the Synod switchboard. Photo by Osker Lau