Report – Canberra Region Presbytery meeting 14 May 2016

A report to the members of the UCA in the Canberra Region Presbytery on the recently held Presbytery Meeting hosted by Kippax Uniting Church – May 2016.

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Much discussion from the floor….

1. EDUCATIONAL SESSION (Morning session)

a) Marks of the Movement

All throughout 2016 the morning session of our meetings focused on the theme “Marks of the Movement”. This is our response to the feeling many people have that the institutional nature of our Church has a deadening impact and inhibits us finding our way forward as congregations in a new era when what we once did no longer works.

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…. and in table groups where responses to the two questions (see below) were jotted down on butchers paper.

We have chosen the idea of “Movement” as this picks up something of the dynamic of what Jesus called his disciples to. It also reflects the idea that we are seeking to move into a new way of being church.

At our meeting Presbytery Minister (Mission & Education), Geoff Wellington, presented a three line summary of our previous conversations around “What does this ‘Movement’ look like?”.

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The 3-line summary:

(i) Love of God and neighbour
(ii) Commitment to social justice
(iii) Valuing of all life

He then asked the reps to consider two questions:

  • What do those three things look like in congregations like yours?
  • How would you like to see those qualities lived out in the future?

Your rep was intentionally grouped with congregations that have similar profiles from the Health & Well-being Survey (H&WS) we conducted earlier. This means we can gather some information that is relevant to our congregations, no matter where they are located on the H&WS. We are collating that information and will share it with you as soon as the collating is complete.

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Rick Morell, Uniting

b) Uniting

After morning tea we heard from Rick Morrell, Director of Mission for “Uniting”. He was asked to share with us the way “Uniting” understands the Marks of the Movement and also to describe the ways “Uniting” are open to partnering with us in our desire to renew the church and find our new future.

Ranjini Rebera, Gungahlin UC, speaks about “For such a time as this – reflections for healing and hope” in relation to family violence. See: bit.ly/1VpmaJO

Lunch:  Thank you Kippax for hosting this meeting and providing a wonderful lunch of soup and sandwiches, cake and slices.

2. FORMAL BUSINESS (Afternoon session)

a) Reports – as normal practice the meeting received the following reports:

(i) Presbytery Ministers (Pastoral & Administration and Mission & Education) – this was a joint report.

(ii) Pastoral Relations Committee

(iii) Treasurer – this included the proposed budget for 2016-2017.

Please ask your Presbytery Rep for copies of these reports and for the Budget, which was agreed to by consensus.

(b) Staffing Structure Review
Work is being done with respect to the staffing we need for Presbytery to seriously respond to the Vision Statement adopted in November 2015. Alison Inglis, a “Uniting” staff person, has been working with us on this, funded by “UnitingAs well as seeking to respond to the Presbytery Vision Statement we are needing to consider: the impact of the emergence of Faith Communities; consequent property and finance management needs; and increasing compliance requirements. All these developments will place pressure on the administrative workload of volunteers and may need to be addressed via the new staffing model being explored.

(c) Grace Community
It was agreed by consensus that the Grace Community, up to now joined with the Goulburn and District Congregations, be recognised as a Faith Community of the Presbytery.

(d) Applicants for Candidature
Three people: Alistair Buchannen (Gungahlin), Sharon Jacobs (Wesley) and Mary Woodhouse (North Belconnen), were all affirmed in their applications to be accepted as candidates for training for ordained ministry. They now move to the next phase of discernment with the Synod Selection Panel later in the year.

(e) Regional Gatherings
The meeting heard that the first Regional Gathering of Congregation/Church Council Office-bearers, ministers and lay leaders, held at Bega for all coastal congregations and Cooma and Jindabyne.

This gathering was preceded by a week of meetings between Vanessa, our Chairperson, and Kevin, our Presbytery Minister (P&A), and the Church Councils of each congregation.The gathering at Bega focussed on discerning the future shape of the UCA in the region and the type of Ministry Leadership that can be expected into the future. Each congregation received a report from that meeting for their consideration and response prior to a final gathering to process the discernment that has occurred.

You will see from the above that it was a very full day.  Please seek further detail and comment from your rep to the Meeting.

Kevin Dilks
Presbytery Secretary
Presbytery Minister (Pastoral and Administration)