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Summary of the February 1, 2024 Synod Standing Committee Meeting

The Synod Standing Committee (SSC) meet once monthly on the first Thursday of the month. The first meeting of the year was held on February 1, 2024.

The SSC met on the grounds of Emmanuel College, an affiliate of the Queensland Synod. It was inspiring to witness the College in the midst of its renewal, actively refurbishing dormitories and getting the grounds ready for the students’ return. Our gratitude to Sharon Burridge and her team for their warm hospitality.

Several members of the SSC resumed their duties after a period of leave, and we were pleased to welcome Rev Linda Hanson in a standing associate capacity while she serves as Associate General Secretary, offering support to the Northern Synod.

The meeting considered the following. 

Updates from the Moderator (Rev Bruce Moore) and General Secretary (Rev Dr Adam McIntosh)

The Moderator emphasised these key points:

Throughout the Synod, there has been a notable emphasis on engaging with diverse individuals and locations, recognising the importance of meeting with and listening to Presbyteries. This commitment was exemplified through participation in the Prayer service of lament and truth-telling with First Nations Peoples, graciously hosted by Aunty Jean at Albert Street Uniting Church. Additionally, attention has been directed towards Muth arrak – the Queensland Regional Council of the UAICC, with anticipation for commencing recruitment for the Executive Officer position in February 2024. A heartfelt tribute was paid to Aunty Florence Charger, acknowledging her profound impact on the community, country, and the Church. The PSI 2-day retreat highlighted the unique and highly valued partnership between Synod and Presbytery Ministers, significantly advancing the mission of the Church and ministry. Active participation in various ecumenical activities further underscores the Synod’s dedication to fostering unity and collaboration within the broader Christian community – finally, the Commissioning of Rev Dr Adam McIntosh as General Secretary was acknowledged.

The General Secretary outlined several significant developments:

The Synod has made significant strides in improving efficiency and effectiveness, notably by implementing a more streamlined Synod Office Meeting Model aimed at reducing meeting durations and enhancing productivity. Additionally, efforts have been focused on developing a Draft Synod Strategy and restructuring the Synod Office to better align with its objectives. Ongoing discussions have centred around establishing a national approach to Safe Church practices, particularly optimising support from the National Safe Church Unit. The Associate General Secretary has played a pivotal role in strengthening the Northern Synod through strategic visitations from January to May 2024. Furthermore, a collaborative effort involving Presbyteries, Congregations, and the Synod Office has led to securing over $10M from the Housing Investment Fund for affordable housing projects in Warwick, Killarney, and Thursday Island, with completion targeted for July 2025.

Updates from: 

  • Uniting Education
  • The National Redress Scheme
  • The Synod Committee for Discipline

The SSC made progress on several significant matters, including:

The SSC considered and endorsed in principle the direction of the Synod Office Strategic Plan for the Synod’s future endeavours. Efforts are also underway to incorporate Uniting Care Queensland. Additionally, the SSC has granted consent for the Synod to assume powers for complaint management from Presbyteries.

Additionally, the SSC approved the reappointment of Mr Chris Townend to the Audit and Risk Committee and the removal of the COVID-19 vaccination mandate from Synod Office policies and procedures.

The Moderator revealed the subsequent appointments designated to attend the Assembly as per the SSC’s delegation:

  • Pastor Alex Stark (lay, representing the youthful demographic)
  • Ms. Ella John (lay, representing the youthful demographic)
  • Ms. Hannah Staines (lay, representing the youthful demographic)

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