Here’s a brief summary of the Synod Standing Committee (SSC) meeting—held on Thursday 6 May 2021—to inform the wider Queensland Synod community of the discussions, deliberations and decisions arising from that meeting. This meeting was a hybrid meeting with some members attending in person and others attending virtually.
Rev John Cox—Director of the Uniting Church in Australia’s National Safe Church Unit—was welcomed by the Synod Standing Committee. John presented an update on the National Safe Church Unit, including the Annual Report to Stakeholders. The SSC gave thanks for the wonderful work of John and the entire National Safe Church Unit, and their contribution to ministry across the life of the church.
Hearing from the Presbyterian Methodist Schools Association (PMSA)
PMSA Group CEO Sharon Callister and PMSA Head of Strategy Richard Paterson were welcomed by the Synod Standing Committee. Sharon and Richard presented an update on the governance, operations and strategy of the PMSA.
Hearing from the Moderator and General Secretary
Moderator Rev Andrew Gunton provided an update on visits to congregations and presbyteries in April, including attending the dawn service on Easter Sunday with the Forrest Lake congregation and the ANZAC Day service at St Andrew’s War Memorial Hospital. Andrew provided an update on the Queensland Community Alliance with a number of key points agreed upon for upcoming advocacy including:
- Support for local community/neighbourhood centres post-JobKeeper
- A call for government to commit to sustainable renewable energy investments
- Support for training funding for asylum seekers.
The Alliance has recently focused on social isolation and is hopeful that the Queensland Government will be announcing some initiatives in this area in the near future.
Andrew also attended the President and Moderators’ gathering in Adelaide, which was his first opportunity to meet the moderators face-to-face. This meeting was a valuable opportunity to share common concerns across the life of the church, with areas discussed including discipleship, governance, covenanting, formation and sustainability. Andrew also attended the President’s conference with the theme “Called by God 2”.
General Secretary Rev Heather Den Houting provided an update on a number of Synod Office operational matters including COVID-19 and the ongoing work around childcare within the Uniting Church.
Heather also advised SSC of a number of congregational changes, including the amalgamation of Moggill Uniting Church and Karana Downs Uniting Church and the closure of Merrigandan Uniting Church and Kilcoy Uniting Church. The Synod Office is supporting both congregations and presbyteries with the necessary steps around transition and closure. The Mooloolaba Uniting Church has also changed its name to Mooloolaba Christian Church.
The SSC also received a presentation of the recently conducted Synod Office perception survey. The outcomes of this survey have been communicated widely and will lead to a number of initiatives designed to make the Synod Office a better workplace and improve the experience for those who we serve.
Report from the Finance, Investment and Property Board
The meeting received a report from the Finance, Investment and Property Board with a presentation from Chair Geoff Batkin. The SSC gave thanks for the diligent work of this group and recognised how it supports 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 3 June 2021.