James O’Callaghan reports on the third and final day of the 35th Synod in Session.
The third day of the 35th Synod in Session commenced with Bible study and worship led by leaders from the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress.
Stories were shared around Ephesians 4:15-16 and the theme of the 35th Synod “grow”.
Among those who offered reflections was National Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress Interim Chair Mark Kickett.
A key outcome from the third day of Synod in Session was the endorsement of the “Shared life. Flourishing communities.” report and proposal around the work of Project Plenty, an 18-month discernment journey to develop a set of mission priorities and directions for the Queensland Synod moving forward.
In announcing the outcome, immediate-past Moderator Rev David Baker said it was a fantastic achievement and hundreds of people have been involved.
Moderator Rev Andrew Gunton thanked all members of the team who had worked on the report.
“Members of Synod, I pray that you engage in this process as we move forward,” said Andrew.
“This is a pivotal moment for our church and it is exciting, but it will only work if you get involved. I encourage you to take this back to your congregations.
The next steps for Project Plenty as per the proposal are:
- Synod will adopt the 2025 ambition, four mission priories and the commitments contained within the report as a set of mission priories and directions that will guide its work for 2020-2025.
- Synod will continue the conversation with congregations, presbyteries, agencies, schools and other bodies of the church to commit to the ambition, mission priorities and commitments of Project Plenty in their own context.
- Synod will partner with congregations, presbyteries, agencies, schools and other bodies of the church in a further period of co-creation to develop and agree the specific deliverables of commitments contained in the report by 30 June 2021.
To find out more about Project Plenty, visit the Project Plenty website.
A second key outcome from the third day of Synod in Session was members of the 35th Synod in Session endorsing the extension of Rev Heather den Houting’s appointment as General Secretary through to 31 December 2023.
The extension of Heather’s term will ensure continuity of oversight over what will be a demanding and challenging yet exciting time for the Queensland Synod with COVID-19 and the continuation of the Project Plenty journey.
In accepting the extension of her appointment, Heather said she was deeply humbled by the trust that has been given to this role.
“I acknowledge again the strength and capacity of the team from the Synod office, as well as those who are involved in Raymont Residential College, Alexandra Park Conference Centre and Trinity College Queensland,” said Heather.
“I also acknowledge my family and thank them for allowing me to continue this journey with your blessing.”
Andrew presented the Synod Ecumenical Relationship Committee (SERC) Award to Pam Whebell for her contribution and service working as the personal assist to the Queensland Churches Together General Secretary.
He also presented the Spirit of Synod Award to Rev Ansie Liedenberg, minister at Warwick Uniting Church (Warwick Killarney Freestone Cluster) since 2016. Ansie lives out and promotes the five priorities embraced by the 33rd Synod and is intentional and effective in her leadership with a sense of call that has remained vital in spite of some difficult times.
As part of the reports from each of the presbyteries, Presbytery Minister for the Downs Rev Yvonne McRostie and Presbytery Minister for the Bremer Brisbane Presbytery Rev Glen Schweitzer joined the Moderator for a question and answer session. Among the topics discussed were COVID-19, collaboration between presbyteries and how Project Plenty will be adopted in presbyteries and congregations.
Throughout the final day, members of Synod heard from the Synod Chaplaincy Commission and the Schools and Residential Colleges Commission, with both reports received by consensus.
The 35th Synod in Session concluded with a worship service.