Engaging in ministry with our Uniting Church schools

Engaging in ministry with our Uniting Church schools

When Pulse was envisioned several years ago, growing their ministry within our UCA schools was one of their key objectives.

Much has happened during this time not only with our schools having to cope with the challenges of the pandemic, but our schools have also been incorporated as legally separate entities.

The appointment of Rev. Stuart Bollom as Director of Mission – Schools, has been key to a growing growing partnership and collaboration with our schools.  We have seven UCA schools across the Synod of NSW and ACT, five in Sydney (MLC, Newington, Ravenswood, PLC and Knox Grammar School), Kinross Wolaroi in Orange and Margaret Jurd College in Newcastle.

In the last weeks we have three key events.

Last Friday 28 October, Ravenswood Religious Education Department did an amazing job of hosting RE teachers from our schools for professional development and resource sharing. It was a great day, learning about how meditation in class can deepen young people and children’s experience of God and life.

There was reflection on Future Directions, the Synod’s new strategic direction, one strand of which is focussed on people in their first third of life, the role that Religious Education (RE) teachers within our school plays in the mission and ministry of the Synod.

Other sessions included how to understand and support staff and students who are part of the LGBQTI+ community. There were times of community building, networking and resource sharing. It was a privilege to work with these amazing teachers who have such a passion for young people, seeing them growing in discipleship. Many are of our RE teachers are members of our local Uniting Churches.

On Monday 31 October, the Moderator hosted our schools Student Leadership Day.  A gathering of our young student leaders from across the schools, to support and network with them, teach them more about the Uniting Church and explore leadership more deeply.

One of the sessions on this afternoon was with Alice Salomon from Uniting Advocacy who shared how our faith inspires us as leaders and trained the young leaders in community organising and how who they can connect with in the areas that matter to them, like climate action. 

The highlight was watching the relationships grow from strangers to friends by the end of the day. It was also fascinating to watch how quickly students got the hang of consensus decision making, waving their cards around in support.

The goal was that by the end of the day, they would have a couple of projects they could work collaborate on. We look forward to see how this progresses when we catch up again next term.

Finally on Thursday 3 November, the first gathering of schools ministry leaders, strategic Presbytery leaders and Congregational leaders from areas near our schools gathered. Effective ministry begins with listening to each other and understanding each other’s context rather than bringing assumptions and imposing our own ideas.

The group focussed on sharing our ministries, looking for synergies and committing to praying for each other. Some great ideas emerged, with the group determined to continue to meet again early in the New Year. The hope for this conversation is to forge a strong relationship between local congregations and key leadership within the schools, as the group explores ways we can collaborate in worship, witness and service to our communities.

Karen Mitchell Lambert (Pulse Lead) with additional information from Rev. Stuart Bollom Director of Mission – Schools.

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