Georges River Presbytery kick off new mission plan
With a new mission plan, office, and branding, Georges River Presbytery are embarking on an ambitious new agenda. The presbytery say that they are working to reverse a decline in numbers and to enhance their ministry. Insights spoke to Presbytery Minister Rev. Matagi Vilitama.
At the heart of Georges River Presbytery’s new ‘Mission, Vision and Strategic Plan 2020-2025’ are aspirations to reverse a declining trend in numbers and to see what Presbytery Minister Rev. Matagi Vilitama calls “healthy, growing congregations that are known for passionately pursuing the mission of Jesus.”
“This is the vision of the presbytery,” Rev. Vilitama said.
The mission plan has a particular youth focus as well. In keeping with the Synod’s vision of a Uniting Church that is ‘growing young’, Georges River Presbytery are seeking to support a youth movement in the Presbytery. This includes a working committee of young leaders and youth mentors who are leading the initiative.
“We are investing in growing multicultural and Crosscultural youth groups and training young leaders with the help of UME and Pulse,” Rev. Vilitama said.
“We are also mentoring young people to participate in Presbytery committees and we are beginning to see positive response in this area.”
Through UME, Synod has provided mission consultants to assist Georges River Presbytery in mission planning.
“The presence and support from Synod has helped build the relationship and collaboration between Presbytery and Synod. Rana Moawad from Synod assisted us in the details of the new logo and branding. Albert Olley, Chief Operating Officer of the Synod, represented Synod in the official opening of the new office.”
“The New Place of Presbytery”
The Presbytery Mission Day took place on Saturday 27 March. According to Rev. Vilitama, the day’s main goal was the welcome new members to “the new place of Presbytery: not just in terms of our new office space but a new place in terms of mission.”
“It was a day to mark a new beginning in the life of the Presbytery celebrating signs of new growth and hope,” Rev. Vilitama said.
The Presbytery Mission Day had four objectives: To provide a time and space to physically meet for the first time since the COVID-19 lockdown, Sharing ‘Good News’ stories about mission events and projects in congregations and Presbytery groups, launching the Presbytery’s new brand, and to officially open Georges River Presbytery’s new Hurstville office.
“There were four presentations on the day,” Rev. Vilitama said.
“Presbytery Youth, known as ‘Living Streams in Christ’ (name that grew out of the logo referring to Georges river); Engadine Uniting Church shared their new mission in their local community, Cronulla New Beginnings Uniting Church talked about their new Discipleship project, and Carlton-Ramsgate Glee youth shared their experience of revitalising their youth group by reaching out to new families in the community.”
According to Rev. Vilitama, it was, “All very inspiring and missional in focus.”
Accompanying the new mission and office is new branding, with a logo by the Synod’s graphic designer, Rana Moawad. As Rev. Vilitama explained, the logo has a rich symbolism that encompasses much of the new mission that Georges River Presbytery is embarking on.
“The name “Georges River” is aesthetically positioned with the image of a river inside a leaf flowing outwards. The symbols in the image are deeply theological.
Water is a biblical and theological concept that represents life. Jesus said, “I am the water of life…he who comes to me will never thirst…” Water in Baptism speaks about cleansing and new beginnings – a fresh start.
The leaf in this logo is a symbol of all of God’s creation. Much of Georges River environment includes conservation parks and it’s something that the Presbytery is very aware of.”
“The leaf symbolises new life, growth and vitality. It is inclusive of food, medicine, art and culture; it speaks to God’s providence and sustenance. Living in the Anthropocene calls us to care for God’s creation and Climate Justice is at the heart of our eco-theology. It is integral to the mission of the UCA.”
“Our young people are passionate about social justice and action on climate change. Engadine’s Shane Slade for instance, a young leader in our Presbytery, is one of the faces of the Church advocating in the climate and social justice space.”
“So these symbols of leaf and river, the colours green and blue are intentionally chosen to represent the ideals and aspirations of Georges River Presbytery reflected in the new Mission, Vision and Strategic Plan 2020-2025.”