Members of the 36th Synod worked, listened, danced and shared in the daily theme of Life Together as the meeting entered its third day, with business deliberation, small groups, bible study and a Plenty Party to end the day.
Bible Study with Pastor Mike Hands
Rev Tim Griggs hosted Newlife Senior Pastor Mike Hands for a morning bible study exploring the topic of life together and the daring hope that a shared vision, mission and identity can draw from us. Mike reflected on Acts 2, Galatians 3 and the Basis of Union (among other sources) to encourage and inspire the Synod. “Together”, Mr Hands said, “we are part of a better kingdom, a better home. And this kingdom will not fade away.”
Wesley Mission Queensland and UnitingCare Qld Breakout Groups
Members of the Synod valued the opportunity to dig into some of the different elements of the work two of our significant community service agencies engage in. A range of topics, including the future of aged care, leadership formation, well-being, mental health, hospitals, and congregational partnerships, were explored with teams from UnitingCare Queensland and Wesley Mission Queensland.
The written reports from each presbytery were supplemented by an inspiring set of stories of mission, discipleship and shared life from across the state. Highlight stories included Carpentaria Presbytery exploring indigenous leadership pathways, flood recovery work in Bremer Brisbane Presbytery, future rural ministry development with Downs Presbytery, and a new faith community growing out of a day camp within Moreton Rivers Presbytery.
Multi Cross-Cultural Reference Group
The 36th Synod received a brief update on the work, membership and strategy of the Multi Cross-Cultural Reference Group, including upcoming events and activities, in addition to the written report of the group.
The Synod began, continued and in some cases concluded its deliberations on several general business proposals.
After small group conversations and helpful input, members agreed by consensus to adopt general proposal six, requesting a review of church membership requirements for members of Uniting Church governance bodies. The report resulting from this work will be prepared for consideration by the 37th Synod.
The Synod agreed to adopt an environmental sustainability strategy Flourishing Creation. The strategy will guide the life of our church in the years to come in areas such as energy, mobility, water and more. The document includes a theological basis, together with crucial principles. The Synod agreed to advocate with the government on sustainability issues and asked for a progress report for the 37th Synod.
A Mission Collaboration and Coordination Committee as a sub-committee of the Synod Standing Committee will be established after small group and plenary sessions continued work on general proposal two. The Synod Standing Committee will oversee the development of this group to foster, resource and encourage significant mission initiatives throughout the state.
Changes to election procedures related to gender representation on the Synod Standing Committee form the basis of General Proposal five. Members worked on the proposal, including in small groups and together on the floor of Synod, with further consideration to the proposal scheduled for tomorrow.
Minutes of Appreciation
The Synod received three minutes of appreciation for the work of Rev Peter Armstrong (Chair, Board for Christian Formation), Mr Neil Ballment (member of Schools and Residential Colleges Commission) and Rev Brian Kickbusch (Convenor of Synod Business Committee).
Live music, great food, dancing, and a buzz of conversation filling the air were the hallmarks of the day-ending Plenty Party – a celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Uniting Church.
The Synod continues Tuesday, with a focus theme of fit for purpose.