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Old treasure stirring new ways

Kaye Ronalds. Photo: Holly Jewell

As a child I always enjoyed treasure hunts. I was just as happy planting the treasure as finding it. After the lawn was mowed one of us would hide pegs in little piles of freshly mown grass and the rest of the family had to race around and see how many they could find.

In chapter 13 of Matthew's gospel you can find many parables Jesus told about the Kingdom of Heaven.

In one of them he says it is like a net.

This is one of many places in the gospels where images of fishing are used to inspire the possibility of catching people for Christ.

Later, Jesus says that every teacher of the law who has been instructed about the Kingdom of Heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.

As we gathered for the 30th Synod we celebrated what it means to be a disciple of Christ.

We heard about some old treasures—like how the camping movement brought people to a point of commitment, and Alex Park's place in that history.

Now youth camps like Summer Madness seek to reinvent this old treasure, and an online discipleship project called Grow faith is in development.

New circumstances around the state mean that some congregations feel isolated and do not feel a strong sense of belonging to other parts of the Uniting Church.

Maybe twinning with another congregation could be an old treasure that has some value in our current setting?

Have you ever heard of geocaching?

It is an outdoor treasure hunting game that uses GPS devices to find a cache, or container, hidden at that location.

When you find the treasure you can leave something for the next person and write in the log book.

Then you go online and log your discovery.

It is a lot more sophisticated than our childhood treasure hunts.

What are the new treasures or the new ways of doing church that will be effective for building the Kingdom of Heaven in this era?

My challenge for our synod is to have a go at some new ways to connect with your community.

Look again at the priority directions and think about what old treasures might assist.

Some ancient spiritual disciplines might help us promote prayer and spirituality.

The Uniting Church is like the net in the Hingdom parable that has gathered up all kinds of fish.

That means that all kinds of people can find their place amongst us and find a place to belong to each other and to Christ.

That breadth and diversity is a treasure we should celebrate rather than hide!

Rev Kaye Ronalds Queensland Synod Moderator.

Photo : Kaye Ronalds. Photo: Holly Jewell

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