Creative, committed and compassionate mission
One of the advantages of the diversity of our Uniting Church is that it enables us to reach out to people with the Good News of Jesus in a wide variety of ways.
At the recent Synod meeting, the Rev. Tim Hein from South Australia told the story of a young neighbour who was engaging in self-destructive behaviour. Tim befriended the young man and nurtured him until one day he came to Tim’s home and, in halting vernacular (graphically reproduced by Tim for the benefit of the Synod), asked about giving his life to Christ.
Tim was able to lead him to Christ through counselling and prayer, thus building on the foundation of friendship and support that had already been laid.
A second story is about woman who at the time described herself as an atheist. She was travelling by bus in a regional city in New South Wales when she saw a message on a church notice-board on the first anniversary of the rescue of asylum-seekers by the MV Tampa:
THANK YOU CAPTAIN RINNAN AND THE TAMPA CREW
Astonished and delighted that a church would say such a thing, she alighted at the next stop, walked back to the church (which had open doors through the week as an expression of its aim to provide inclusive and unconditional hospitality) and went in.
Her next surprise was to find displayed on the wall, among the Mediacom posters, the United Nations Charter of Human Rights.
She revisited the quiet space of that open church a number of times. Eventually she reconnected with a former friend who attended another Uniting Church and went with him to a Christmas service.
Not long after, she was welcomed as a full member of that church and married her friend.
Finally, the growth of the Men’s Shed ministry is a wonderful example of our aim “Moving with God, Transforming Communities” and illustrates how congregations, with the support of their presbyteries and boards are reaching out in faithful service.
The following is an excerpt from the Uniting Church Adult Fellowship Committee publication Connexion, describing life at the Corrimal Regional Uniting Church’s Men’s Shed in the Illawarra Presbytery:
“The morning coffee time is an important time of fellowship for the men. It has been noticed that a couple of those who come seem to have been helped out of their depression. Surely this is one of the positive aims of the shed. The motto of the shed is ‘Creating and Restoring through Mateship’ and this ideal finds expression both in the items that are made and repaired as well as in the times of fellowship and discussion.”
I feel deeply encouraged and positive about these and the many and various other expressions of creative, committed and compassionate ministry and mission that are happening around the Synod.
Thank you to all who are part of this vital Community of Faith and may God bless you in your endeavours in this New Year of witness and service.
The Rev. DrBrian Brown, Moderator.