Below is the brief summary of the Synod Standing Committee (SSC) meeting—held on Thursday 3 December 2020—to inform the wider Queensland Synod community of the discussions, deliberations and decisions arising from that meeting. This meeting was held in person at UnitingCare Queensland’s office in the Brisbane CBD.
The SSC received an update from Project Plenty after Shared Life. Flourishing Communities. was endorsed by the 35th Synod in Session. Members of the team are now visiting presbyteries across the state to provide them with an update on the next steps, as well as making contact with organisations who were identified as a lead in each of the 11 commitments. The SSC heard of the genuine support across the church around our shared life together and how members of the church across the state are looking forward to supporting this important body of work.
35th Synod in Session
The SSC also heard a summary report of feedback from the 35th Synod in Session. Overall, this feedback was positive with members of Synod making the most of the opportunity to meet within the difficult circumstances that COVID-19 has presented. There were some concerns around the issues of timing, capacity to build community and technology reported. These have been taken on board and will be reviewed by the Business Committee. However, given the fact that this was the first online meeting to be conducted by any Synod across the country, the Standing Committee expresses its deep thanks to all involved and congratulates all members of the Synod.
The SSC also noted several items of correspondence arising from the Synod meeting and requested the General Secretary to respond to the matters raised.
The SSC resolved by consensus that the process for nominating further Synod appointments be conducted through an expression of interest, with those who have sought nomination previously through Synod processes being ineligible to apply. Communications regarding the nomination process will be distributed to the church in the coming weeks and recommended candidates will be brought to the February 2021 Synod Standing Committee meeting for decision.
Hearing from the Moderator and General Secretary
Moderator Rev Andrew Gunton provided his first report to SSC. Andrew highlighted visits to multiple congregations and presbyteries during his first month in the position, including attending the inductions of the Presbytery Minster for Central Queensland and Carpentaria Presbyteries and the opening of the new manse at Aurukun.
The General Secretary provided an update on a number of operational matters, including COVID-19. The General Secretary noted that she will initially take the lead in the consultation process regarding the Mission Development and Innovation Fund Policy, which will be managed as a project to ensure there is timely and appropriate action before the 36th Synod.
Our schools and colleges
The SSC received a report from the Schools and Residential Colleges Commission, which was presented by Chair Noela Lister and Dr Sharon Hinton, the new Executive Officer of the Schools and Residential Colleges Commission.
In this report, the SSC heard of the tremendous work that is occurring within our schools and colleges as an outreach of mission for the Uniting Church in Queensland. We noted in particular, the position of our residential colleges.
Congratulations to those who received extensions or nominations to positions within several Synod boards, commissions and committees. The ongoing service of these members to the mission of the church is gratefully acknowledged.
The Synod Standing Committee will next meet on 4 February 2021.