General Secretary of the Queensland Synod Rev Heather den Houting reflects on the recently released Mission Impact Report and the challenges and opportunities facing the Synod office and the wider church.
Our church is a broad and complex organisation seeking to live out its call in a time of change. The Mission Impact Report, released in October, highlights the work of the Synod office to support the Queensland Uniting Church throughout the 2018/2019 financial year.
While the report does not provide the full picture of the whole-of-Synod, presbyteries, congregations and agencies, and our various boards, committees and commissions, it does explain how the Synod office oversees and implements services and strategies which are designed to support these activities.
Key achievements in the last financial year have included the work to facilitate the church’s exit from Shalom Christian College in Townsville. Through this process, we achieved what I believe is the best possible outcome with the school being sold to Carinity, an organisation with expertise in offering quality education services as an ongoing concern.
In the 2017/2018 report I listed a number of Synod-wide challenges that were identified by the Audit and Risk Committee. The Synod office has been purposeful and strategic with our response to these challenges, including providing support to sections of the Synod who have struggled with the decision made by the 15th Assembly on same-gender marriage.
We joined the NSW/ACT, Northern and Vic/Tas Synods as well as the National Assembly as founding members of the National Insurance Program, an example of national collaboration. Furthermore there have been no reportable workplace incidents within the Synod office, a testament to the work and investment that has been placed in maturing our safety management system.
Looking forward, a key priority for the Synod office is the ongoing work as part of Project Plenty, which will be presented at the 35th Synod in Session.
The current financial year is posing a number of new challenges, including the church’s response to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability. The Synod has learned lessons from previous royal commissions and has identified and alerted congregations and entities where these services may have been offered.
I look forward to providing a further update in 2020 and at the 35th Synod in Session.
To view the Mission Impact Report in full, visit ucaqld.com.au/2019-mission-impact-report