James O’Callaghan reports on the induction of Rev Andrew Gunton as new Moderator of the Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod.
On the evening of 22 October 2020, Rev Andrew Gunton was inducted as Moderator of the Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod.
A COVID-19 safe service was held at the Rollie Busch Chapel in the Queensland Synod office to commemorate the momentous occasion.
Despite COVID-19 restrictions, traditional elements of the service were incorporated, including a symbolic signing of the Synod Bible and communion in order to preserve the dignity of the special event.
Andrew received messages of support from the President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Dr Deidre Palmer, the Governor General of Queensland, His Excellency, the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC and Presbytery Ministers from across the State.
Andrew thanked the members of the Uniting Church for putting their faith in him and appointing him to the role of Moderator.
“I pray that together, we can participate fully in God’s mission,” said Andrew.
“And together, we can grow the church.”
As part of his initial sermon, Andrew spoke on the theme of being lost, something that many across the life of the church have felt in the past seven months.
“I reflected and asked, could a church get lost,” said Andrew.
“There have been times when as a Uniting Church, we have lost our way. When we didn’t speak up and look after the most vulnerable who were in our care.
“With God, no one can stay lost forever. But that does not mean we have been found. In repenting our past, we have to make sure that we work together, learn together and listen to the voice of Christ in the vulnerable and people we are called to care for. This is what it means to be found.”
Andrew said he was particularly excited about Project Plenty, which is set to be unveiled during the 35th Synod in Session.
“This work is particularly exciting because it is a whole of church project,” says Andrew.
“This is what I hope the future looks like. Working together, utilising everybody’s gifts and leading into new pathways.”
Andrew was elected to the role as Moderator by the 34th Synod in Session in May 2019. He was most recently the Minister at Oxley-Darra Uniting Church, Chair of Bremer Brisbane Presbytery, has served as Moreton Rivers Presbytery Minister and in ministerial placements in Rockhampton and Arana Hills. His initial term of Moderator will be for three years.
Following the induction of the Moderator, the 35th Synod in Session will be held virtually from Friday 23 October to Sunday 25 October. Follow the Queensland Synod Facebook page and JourneyOnline for key milestones and daily updates.