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Rev David Fender. Photo: Holly Jewell

Change initiatives to shape the future

As the Queensland Synod continues its focus on the five Priority Directions for the 2016-2020 period, a new suite of Key Change Initiatives (KCIs) has been identified to help shape the work of the Synod and presbyteries as they implement the Priority Directions. Journey reports.

Generated by the Synod Standing Committee and the Presbytery Synod Interface in mid-2017, the KCIs are the specific areas in which the 2016–2020 Priority Directions will be applied as the church continues its journey of growth, transition and innovation.

Developed at the 2016 Synod meeting, the Priority Directions provide areas of focus for the whole Synod as part of its journey towards 2020 but the Key Change Initiatives provide the lens to specifically target areas of work for Synod and presbyteries.

While congregations are encouraged to continue their ongoing work in these areas, the KCIs are primarily there to frame the work of Queensland Synod councils (such as the Synod Standing Committee and the Synod office) and presbytery offices.

The four initiatives ensure the Uniting Church has strategic locations for intentional churches (including church plantings); continues its commitment to being multi and cross-cultural; effectively engages with First Peoples; and maintains a unified Christ-centred identity across the whole church.

Rev David Fender—Queensland Synod Associate General Secretary—is keen to emphasise the Priority Directions and the KCIs have a complementary relationship: “The initiatives don’t replace the Priority Directions, they target where we’re looking at.

“Rather than being diffuse and spreading ourselves so thinly over many areas, let’s choose four and say, ‘We are going to intentionally work on this and bring about some identifiable, deliberate change,’ so that we can get some momentum, get some encouragement, be inspired to see that things are growing, transitioning and innovating in these areas,” says David. “It’s about enthusiasm and about momentum in target areas.”

As UnitingCare Queensland’s Associate Director of Mission, Rev Peter Armstrong’s work to bring congregational and agency leadership together amply demonstrates how people within the Synod community are currently expressing the initiatives— in Peter’s case, to maintain a unified Christ-centred identity and purpose across the whole church—in their work.

“I’m there to support and encourage relationships between a congregation and a UnitingCare agency or service, and be available as a conduit,” says Peter. “Particularly as there have been continual changes in UnitingCare, congregations can feel left behind not just in the structural changes but in the people changes.

“We’re in mission together … UnitingCare is to bring life in all its fullness and the congregation’s role is to share in that bringing of life to the community and to share and to be the storytellers of the life, to be the witness of that life that can be full. It’s about working together.”

To read more about the Queensland Synod’s Priority Directions visit ucaqld.com.au/about-us/priority-directions

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