Collaboration key to UME

Collaboration key to UME

Uniting Mission and Education came into being when the Board of Mission and Board of Education were merged in 2011. Executive Director, the Rev. Kath Merrifield, writes that it has been a long and sometimes difficult process but new life is emerging as the new team takes shape.

Uniting Mission and Education is now at full strength!

We have been praying, hoping and dreaming as the new team explores together what God is calling us to be. It is an exciting time as we share together the ways in which we see God’s Spirit moving in God’s Church.

There are lots of challenges as we face reducing budgets and reducing numbers of people employed by the Synod but we also find great opportunities for us to partner with presbyteries to equip, nurture and encourage God’s mission among God’s people as we together share God’s love and grace with the communities in which we live.

The new structure enables us to see the intertwining of education and mission as we seek to grow in our discipleship as followers of Jesus Christ.

Discipleship is about both learning and doing — what some call “reflective practice” — learning together about who God is, who we are called to be, and about the world in which we find ourselves … and having a go!

We will make mistakes; we hope we can learn from those. And in faith we hope that some of what we do will help us to know the love of God more deeply, and to share such love with the people we encounter along the way.

The Synod has encouraged our new team to think differently and to be creative in the way we work with presbyteries and congregations.

So we have been thinking about what a mission-shaped church looks like, both theologically and very practically. What would that look like in the life of a gathered community or congregation?

The key word is “collaboration”; so, in all that we do, we are looking for whom we might work with and how we might develop and grow disciples across the life of the church.

The work of the UME team is extremely varied, including the Relationships and Resourcing Team, engagement with schools (our own Uniting Church schools as well as public schools through SRE and school chaplains), the United Theological College, the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, and Uniting Venues.

Late last year, many congregations participated in the National Church Life Survey. The survey is made possible because of a partnership between UME, the Anglican Church, the Catholic Church and the Australian Catholic University. Shortly you will be receiving your results and the UME team, along with presbytery people, will be available to help you work through the results and to develop your mission plans.

We continue to rely on volunteers to assist with a range of activities, including the editing and distributing of In a State of Prayer and general mail-outs, as well as the prayer support offered by people throughout the church.

We are working on developing a newsletter to replace Interaction that will keep you up-to-date with what is happening throughout UME. And we would love to hear your ideas, thoughts and comments. Just email us at umeinfo@nsw.uca.org.au or drop us a line at the Synod offices.

The Easter Thank Offering continues to be a source of funds for projects that cannot attract funding from other sources. Your continued support is greatly valued.

The Rev. Kath Merrifield, Executive Director

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