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Synod Standing Committee update – August 2020

Below is the brief summary of the Synod Standing Committee meeting—held on Thursday 6 August 2020—to inform the wider Uniting Church in Queensland community of the discussions, deliberations and decisions arising from that meeting.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the meeting was held virtually.

The Synod Standing Committee resolved unanimously that it communicate regularly with the wider church on non-sensitive matters. This update represents the first of these regular communications that will be released after each Synod Standing Committee meeting.

The Synod Standing Committee noted the 35th Synod in Session program which will be released to members of the Synod in the coming weeks. This program has been purposefully designed in order to ensure that the meeting, our first virtual event, will be a user-friendly experience whilst still completing ordinary business.

UnitingCare Queensland presented the Synod Standing Committee with their Annual Statement of Missional Intent 2020–2021, which was approved by consensus. As part of the regular reporting schedule, the Synod Standing Committee also received reports from the Synod Business Development Unit, the Finance, Investment and Property Board and Bremer Brisbane Presbytery. The Synod Standing Committee resolved to remunerate members of the Remuneration and Nomination Committee for their work on this committee, starting from 1 January 2021.

Updates to the Finance, Investment and Property Board charter were approved by consensus, including a key change relating to the appointment of board members. This change means that the Finance, Investment Property Board chair will continued to be appointed by Synod in Session, but members will now be appointed by Synod Standing Committee.

The Moderator, Rev David Baker and General Secretary, Rev Heather den Houting both presented their reports and it was resolved by consensus that these were received. The General Secretary’s report included a review of operational matters within the Synod office and included an overview of our response to COVID-19. The report also looked at JobKeeper and the changes that are currently being made to that package. The Synod office is currently analysing recent statements to determine our eligibility post-September. This advice will be provided in a regular COVID-19 update in the coming weeks.

The Moderator’s report included a recap of a retreat in Yeppoon attended by the Moderator, Moderator-elect and Presbytery Ministers. This was a positive opportunity for those involved to settle into their collaborative leadership roles with a number of fresh perspectives being introduced to the group. It was noted during the retreat that there are a number of challenges currently facing our church. The challenges are not insurmountable, but a clear understanding of the environment in which a presbytery operates is needed to be able to navigate the challenges inherent in the Uniting Church’s structure and culture.

The members of Synod Standing Committee were also presented with an update on Project Plenty with a decision made on how this body of work will be presented to the 35th Synod in Session.

Congratulations to those who have received extensions or nominations to positions within a number of Synod boards, commissions and committees.

The Moderator thanked members for their perseverance in doing things differently as a result of COVID-19. The next meeting of the Synod Standing Committee will be held on Thursday 3 September 2020.

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