Church embarks on new and risky paths
The November edition of Insights magazine focuses on the Synod meeting at Newcastle University, September 23-27.
The meeting of the Uniting Church’s Synod of New South Wales and the ACT addressed a number of significant social issues as well as beginning major reform of its own internal structures.
- expressed its grave concern at the Federal Government’s attempts to deal with people smuggling to Australia by overriding and disregarding the human rights obligations to which Australia committed itself;
- called on the NSW Government to deliver on its commitment to transfer all out-of-home care services and placements to accredited non-government service providers so that children have access to good quality care;
- also called on the New South Wales Government to make changes to the Bail Act to divert children and young people away from detention centres as a first step in reform of juvenile justice.
On internal matters, Synod:
- decided to begin a process of structural reform;
- decided to convert its Korean Commission into its first non-geographic presbytery;
- chose the Rev. Kath Merrifield, minister at the Brighton-Kogarah Uniting Church, as the new director of Uniting Mission and Education;
- installed new Moderator, the Rev. Dr Brian Brown, in the presence of State and Federal MPs, ecumenical guests and the Uniting Church President. Dr Brown, who has been ministering at Hamilton Broadmeadow Uniting Church in Newcastle since 2000, will serve the Synod as its 26th Moderator for the next three years;
Synod also heard the reflections of past-Moderator, the Rev. Niall Reid, who said the church needs to stop asking why it is in decline and to cease looking for somebody or something to blame for this trend.
Instead, it should acknowledge that both the world and the Uniting Church’s place in it had shifted dramatically since three churches joined to form the Uniting Church in 1977.
Stories and photographs appear in November Insights. Detailed reports can be found on the website.
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