Kath Merrifield chosen as new director of UME
The Rev. Kath Merrifield, minister at the Brighton-Kogarah Uniting Church, has been chosen by the Synod of New South Wales and the ACT as the new director of Uniting Mission and Education (UME).
Chairperson of the Nominating Committee, the Rev. Karyn Burchell-Thomas, said Ms Merrifield was supremely qualified for the position and would bring a fresh, but not uninformed, understanding of the Synod to her new role.
“We believe Kath will fulfil the role with skill and grace, responding to the call of Christ, managing the dynamics of change, moulding the people together with a sense of vision and enthusiasm that takes the equipping, the education of the people of God for mission into new and exciting expression; a prophetic presence, grounded in reality, inspired by God.”
Ms Merrifield holds a Bachelor of Science from the Australian National University (ANU), a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) with the ANU and a Bachelor of Theology with United Theological College.
Prior to being in ministry she was on the personal staff of Justice Brennan in the High Court of Australia and a legal advisor in the Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department.
She also worked for TEAR Australia and was responsible for 60 families living in ten countries.
Ms Burchell-Thomas said Ms Merrifield was cool under pressure and had been responsible for evacuating 30 people from Cambodia during a violent coup, caring for them while in Thailand and resettling them back into Cambodia when things had settled down.
Her work in Asia had opened her eyes to poverty and its causes and sparked her conviction that people’s needs are to be attended to holistically and that the church should willingly embrace the hard edges of life.
In her application for the position, Ms Merrifield wrote, “I am passionate about the Uniting Church and its unique approach to being Church in Australia today. I love the way the church is prepared to wrestle with the challenges of the changing shape of mission and the place of the church within the community.
“The Uniting Church occupies a very special place in the life of the community, a space which can be claimed and enhanced with a strong approach to education and creative approaches to ministry and mission.”