And just like that, the meeting of the 37th Synod is complete. After five days of community, worship, encouragement, business and yarning, members are wending their way back home across the state.
Opening Worship & Bible Study
Dr Paul Jones explored the text of Jeremiah 13:1-11, drawing a line from this enacted parable to Paul’s later New Testament teaching about the church as the body of Christ. “The church is the embodiment of God,” Dr Jones said, “we are joined with Christ to be God to the world.” He went on to challenge the Church to prioritise the very basic practices of discipleship: “There will be no renewal in the church until we get this right. God has chosen to collaborate with us to be the church to the world. Find someone who might be a part of the body that you can nurture, support, and encourage. Talk about their passions, explore their spiritual gifts, and then give them an opportunity. This is discipleship, the main thing the church needs.”
Elections & Ballot Results
The 37th Synod made the following appointments after ballot processes were complete:
General Secretary: Rev Dr Adam McIntosh
Members of Synod Standing Committee: Rev Linda Hanson, Mr Gary Adsett
Member of Board for Christian Formation: Rev Rod Fisher
Members of Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust Q: Mr Alan Hanson, Dr Geoff Ericksson, Mr Peter Campbell, Mrs Sarah Brunt, Mr Harden Jett
Secretary of Uniting Church in Australia Property Trust Q: Mr Peter Cranna
Chair of Finance and Property Board: Mr Alan Hanson
Elected Members for the 17th Assembly: Ms Annie Baker, Mr Neil Ballment, Mr Geoff Batkin, Mr Scott McDonald, Mr Dempsey Scanlan, Rev Linda Hanson, Rev Garry Jennings, Rev Yvonne McRostie, Rev Donna Muston, Rev Viliami Mila, Rev Dave Thomas, Rev Beatrice Skippen, Rev David McGregor
Business & Proposals
Synod passed, by consensus, a proposal to alter requirements for appointees to boards and governing bodies to be members of the Uniting Church. There were amendments made to the original proposal during the discussion.
Synod passed, by consensus, a proposal outlining principles by which institutions of the Church may be separately incorporated but remain in relationship with the Church. There were amendments made to the original proposal during the discussion.
Synod considered a proposal regarding ministerial well-being and expectations for work volumes and rhythms. After discussion, an amended version of the proposal was passed by consensus.
Synod considered a proposal to request the Assembly to re-prioritise the Act2 project. After discussion, the proposal was withdrawn.
A proposal arose from the floor of Synod regarding the significant missional importance of public hospital chaplaincy and the development of an engagement plan to seek continued chaplaincy presence. After discussion, the proposal was unable to be resolved and was referred to the Synod Standing Committee for further consideration.
Moderator’s Community Service Medals
Award recipients for the long-running Moderator’s Community Service Medals were announced. Awards will be presented by the Moderator in the home community for each recipient. This year’s award recipients are Helen Beech (Balance Builder’s Program), Sharon Kirk (Grief and Loss program facilitator, Kathleen Murphy (BlueCare Respite), Adrian Patterson (St Andrews War Memorial Hospital volunteer), Lesley Rouse (Community volunteer), Margaret Taylor (community volunteer) and Kath Warner (Grief and Loss program facilitator).
Spirit of Synod Award
Rev Suzy Sitton is the 2023 Spirit of the Synod Award recipient. Suzy is the minister in placement at Proserpine/Whitsunday Uniting Church and has also recently served as Chairperson and Presbytery Minister for Central Queensland Presbytery.
The 37th Synod has been clothed in prayer and worship and drew to a close in a similar manner in the sharing of Holy Communion. Moderator Rev Bruce Moore reflected on the meeting, noting the cycles of endings and beginnings that characterise life and are vital in any story of renewal. Rev Moore called the church to continued prayer and reminded the Synod of one of the central themes of the gospel: “When the moment seems dark, hope remains in Christ. There is love waiting at the end of the story.”
The Moderator closed the gathering, reminding the synod that “as you leave from this community and go back to your home communities, there is much more of this story yet to be written. The Spirit is already ahead of you.”
“Are you open to where the Spirit might be leading?” he asked, “where the Spirit might lead us as a church in this coming season?”