THE UNITING Church in Queensland is embarking on a process to gain a fresh understanding of how it can use property resources for mission, beginning with an online Property Assessment Tool.
All congregations and faith communities with beneficial use of property have been requested to provide information in the online survey about their current property usage and how well each property meets their needs, both now and looking to the future.
Mary Burnett Presbytery Rural Ministry Coordinator Rev Karyl Davison said the process was important to help gain a whole Church view of properties and mission.
“While many people will think the review is about discovering what property can be sold to alleviate the Synod’s current financial crisis, I see the review as being more a way of looking holistically at the life of the Church across the Synod,” said Ms Davison.
“It is not simply about how many people attend worship, but about how the congregation see their mission and service within the wider community and therefore whether the buildings meet their mission goals.”
The information, due early September, will be compiled and analysed by external property consultants Savills to place all Uniting Church worship buildings, manses, halls, vacant land and other properties on a matrix of optimisation and long term potential.
This objective and benchmarked data will be fed back to presbyteries to inform further conversations with congregations about missional usage and property review.
Synod Property Resources team member Gary Adsett hopes the process will prompt presbyteries and congregations to come to a new understanding of how property can be used for mission.
“Is the best way to achieve our mission through property ownership, or by leasing a space, or through a local partnership?” asked Mr Adsett.
“What is the right type of presence to have in new and growing areas?”
Fellow team member Stephen Peake said it is the first time such an extensive review of property has been undertaken.
“We want to strategically and proactively help the Church understand the resources it needs for mission,” said Mr Peake.
Mr Adsett said the process aims to tie in with the Together on the way, enriching community process.
“Property is a resource to support the delivery of mission—but is it being a servant of the mission or the determiner of mission?” said Mr Adsett.
The review of properties is not merely about identifying properties to sell.
“We need to get much better at reviewing the real value of our properties to our mission—selling properties with only a short term view of their usefulness or potential is not what this is about,” stressed Mr Adsett.
Photo : Synod Property Resources team members Gary Adsett and Stephen Peake. Photo by Holly Jewell