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Synod Standing Committee Update – April 2021

Here’s a brief summary of the Synod Standing Committee (SSC) meeting—held on Thursday 1 April 2021—to inform the wider Queensland Synod community of the discussions, deliberations and decisions arising from that meeting. This meeting was held virtually. 

Fit for Purpose

The meeting included a workshop around “fit for purpose”, a key mission priority identified during the Plenty strategic process. Members of the SSC and Presbytery Ministers contributed their valuable insights and expertise. As part of this workshop, the SSC was updated on the progress of Plenty working groups and agreed to investigate the creation of a new committee to resource mission collaboration and coordination, noting that any proposals around this would be brought to the next general Synod.

Hearing from the Board for Christian Formation (BCF)

Chair Rev Peter Armstrong brought an update on the work of the BCF. He highlighted a planning workshop in February 2021 where a number of strategic priorities were discerned and endorsed. These priorities are aligned with Plenty and include:

  • Focusing on resourcing to meet the full breadth of the BCF Charter;
  • Developing better ways of working to maintain alignment between  the BCF, Plenty and the wider Synod; and
  • Stewardship of Trinity College Queensland.

Hearing from the Moderator and General Secretary

Moderator Rev Andrew Gunton provided an update on visits to presbyteries and schools during March. Andrew also provided an update on the President and Moderator’s meeting in March, which included conversations around Synod meetings and governance during COVID. Andrew paid tribute to Mary Burnett Presbytery Minister Rev Chris Crause who has announced his retirement, effective 31 July 2021. This retirement has triggered a Joint Nomination Committee process, which will be chaired by Andrew.

General Secretary Rev Heather Den Houting provided an update on a number of Synod office operational matters, including efforts to reimagine the Synod office to make it fit for purpose in the COVID-19 environment. Heather also updated the SSC after the March Assembly Standing Committee meeting, particularly around the ACT2 process and noted that the regulation review project will be deferred until the face-to-face meeting of the 16th National Assembly, currently scheduled for 2022. 

Report from the Audit and Risk Committee

The meeting received a report from the Audit and Risk Committee, with a presentation from Chair Ralph Collins. The SSC give thanks for the diligent work of this group and recognised how it enables the mission of the church.


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 6 May 2021. 

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