Home > Features > 26th Synod calls a new Moderator from the bathroom

26th Synod calls a new Moderator from the bathroom

Rev Bruce Johnson has been appointed as Moderator-Elect for the Queensland Synod

Rev Bruce Johnson currently minister of Broadwater Road Uniting Church in Mansfield, Brisbane has been elected by the 26th Queensland Synod of the Uniting Church to be its next Moderator.

Synod members were highly amused that Mr Johnson was visiting the bathroom when his appointment was announced and greeting his belated entry to the auditorium with a standing ovation.

Mr Johnson will take up the appointment as Moderator at the commencement of the 27th Synod in 2008 and will be known as Moderator-Elect through to that time.

Mr Johnson was accepted as a candidate for Minister of the Word 1979, graduated from Trinity College in 1983 and was ordained 1984.

Prior to taking up his appointment at Broadwater Road Mr Johnson served as minister Clermont-Capella and Gladstone and was full-time Chairperson Central Queensland Presbytery.

Mr Johnson is well known for his passion to see the vision of the Basis of Union lived out within the Uniting Church in Queensland.

“I have a strong commitment to the inter-related councils of The Uniting Church. I believe that this is a unique gift of God to The Uniting Church in Australia,” Mr Johnson said in his Moderatorial profile.

Mr Johnson said he believes the church has been afraid to let go of the past and embrace the vision that God placed before it.

“I believe that we were called by God to be a unifying force among Christians, and that wherever possible we should be a catalyst that brings the many congregations of God’s people in an area together to bear a united witness to Christ and see his mission is carried out.”

In his acceptance speech Mr Johnson recollected that he had joined the Uniting Church in Australia in response to Jesus pray “that we might be one so that the world might believe that God had sent his Son”.

Former Moderator Rev Alan Kuchler said that the Moderatorial Candidature Task Group had identified key characteristics with the intention of providing a ‘picture’ of the kind of person a moderator needs to be in order to fulfil the ministry, duties and responsibilities required.

These included a “capacity to exercise pastoral care and discipline; the ability to moderate, chair and facilitate discussion and decision making in meetings and [wide] respected within the life of the church.

“The nominee will be a skilled and gifted communicator and, as the public ‘face’ of the church, will be articulate and competent in working with the media.”

Mr Johnson spoke about his desire to recover focus on the “Great Commission”.
“Denominations focus on centralised unified control; missionary movements allow freedom to those called to particular places and situations of mission,” he said.

“The Basis of Union envisages us to be a missionary movement, so we need to create a culture of permission that inspires local congregations to engage with their communities as Christ’s presence.

“I believe that the debate about people in same gender relationships serving in specified ministry has been a terrible distraction from our primary calling to make disciples.

Mr Johnson said he believed the Uniting Church in Australia had allowed this issue to take too much time and energy from its central calling.

“I believe that unless we heed Jesus’ ‘Great Commission’ to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, it won’t matter how careful we are about choosing leaders, we will have failed our calling.”


Photo : Rev Bruce Johnson has been appointed as Moderator-Elect for the Queensland Synod