The Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod has a new moderator after Rev David Baker was inducted at the opening service of the 31st Synod held at Unity College in Caloundra, beginning his term with the theme A charge to keep.
In front of hundreds of people from across the life of the Uniting Church, the scarf of responsibility was handed over by Rev Kaye Ronalds, immediate past Moderator of the Queensland Synod, with words of blessing.
“David, this scarf is a symbol of your call to serve the Synod as Moderator,” she said, “May you wear it with humility and joy as you exercise pastoral and spiritual leadership among the people within the bounds of the Synod and serve God in the wider Christian community.”
Representatives from each of the presbyteries, boards, and commissions of the Queensland Synod extended their welcome to the new Moderator, each shaking his hand. “It’s like the end of a footy match!” he joked.
Uniting Church Assembly General Secretary Rev Terence Corkin and Rev Richard Tutin, General Secretary of Queensland Churches Together extended their greeting on behalf of the wider Christian church.
In his first address as Moderator of the Queensland Synod, David spoke on Numbers 9:15–23 to impress upon those present the importance of being fruitful, despite sometimes difficult circumstances.
“Keeping the charge of the Lord is about ensuring that we keep our eye on the ball … what this charge is, what its hope is and how we are called to modify and change our lives around that constant orientation point.
“For the Israelites, keeping their eye on the ball was as simple as looking out of the tent every morning and identifying where the cloud over the tent of meeting was … Wouldn’t it be lovely if it were that simple today! You know keeping your eye on the ball includes two parts of the body—the eyes and the feet. The eyes to see where the Lord is leading us, and the feet to move us there. We have to move.
“There is a predicament—speaking generally—in which we have been caught up, that of institutional survival. Our survival; that is not our concern. That is our Lord’s concern. Jesus said he will build his church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
“God forbid that we should be worried about survivability; the survivability of the church is not our concern. Being fruitful as church is our concern.”
The service was a celebration reflective of the cultural diversity of the Uniting Church, a cross was presented by Marda Pitt, a member of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, and the Park Tongan Church Band and Choir shared songs in both Tongan and English.