Open Space – An opportunity to share

Open Space – An opportunity to share

While not a new concept, Open Space was experienced for the first time at the Synod 2016 gathering this year. Insights asked people how they found working with each other in this way and what stood out for them being able to contribute in this way.

How have you found Open Space?

“It was a very good opportunity to share our opinions and feelings about all the proposals. So we are very happy to provide our thoughts and also to listen to the feedback. It was a very good time for us. Open Space is very interesting because we haven’t experienced this before. We are learning and we are trying to enjoy this time, to share new ideas and new future.”

Shin Goo Lee – Secretary of the Korean Presbtery

“Open Space is really important. A lot of good ministry is about relationships and dialogue and Open Space is allowing us to bring important issues that we are passionate about to the floor but then to have that space to discuss the various issues. In one of my sessions we talked about Next Gen leadership and what is not working and what we can do from here. It’s great for a young person to be able to share our thoughts is and very empowering as well. It is fantastic that people are so passionate about young people and the future is incredibly motivating and inspiring as well.”

Katelyn Stevenson – Parramatta Nepean Presbytery

“I was a “butterfly” at frist in that I was waiting to find a group. I have just spent a great time with people in a group about faith sharing. I’m conscious that it’s something that personally challenges me and I’m also of the view that its an area where the church needs to be encouraged that once we depart from gathering on a Sunday that people know how to share their faith. They need to be able to given some tools to help them. They need to have examples for real people and so that they are more comfortable.”

Ross Daddo – Georges River Presbytery

“I find it interesting because it has allowed people to have space to speak their mind and everybody participates. So its lively, its good and its not like the original meeting where you wait you turn for people to speak. We sit around and see each others’ faces and get on with the discussion and everybody contributes. Good ideas will come out of it, because some of the people in our groups don’t normally speak during the big meetings so they can express their minds in the small groups.”

Waisea Logologo – Sydney Presbytery

“It is good because there are a lot of things going through peoples minds and they don’t normally have the space to air them, this gives them the opportunity to bring those ideas out and for people who either don’t understand or have the passion for those ideas to help bring out those issues. It has been fantastic. I think we are looking at the Uniting Church growing and these are things that will help it to grow. Its amazing its great to have it, and it will help the Synod and Assembly. I went to the session that dealt with multiculturalism. Everybody had an opportunity to speak which was excellent.”

Kodjo Nkrumah – United Theological College

“It was helpful to be in groups that aren’t talked about in the big picture of Synod. It gives you a good opportunity to talk with others interested in topics that I’m passionate about. I went to the emerging congregations group for first session and then I just went to the family ministry sessions. Conversations were good, it’s surprising how few people were at the family ministry session, because I would think that this is a priority for the Church at the moment.”

Kaye Lewis – Sydney Central Coast Presbytery

“Open Space has been good and disappointing. I went to the innovation session and that was good, there was a lot of discussion from various people about a range of topics, the facilitator was excellent he had us identify good ways of innovation and not so good ways and then wrote it all down. Then he had us marking against which ones we thought we important. I went into community partnerships, while it started off slowly, I got information to take back to my Church about different partnerships with other Churches and in the community. I thought that was a good session. It will be interesting to see how many people come back to the circle to listen to the report at the end of the day.”

Robyn Harvey – Boronia Park

“I think open space allows the Uniting Church to be the Uniting Church, allows frank discussion, allows peoples voices to be heard from across the floor. It is about honesty, transperancy and rigous debates, differences of opinion, different backgrounds and culture and different perspectives. Being able to be combined together and think through issues. The Church is about the people of God, the state of the Uniting Church is about the state of the people of God. We are able to communicate openly and we are given a space to do that. I think the Church is moving forward, the Church is alive and when the Church is alive, the Church needs to be able to communicate within and to the world. I believe Open Space allows us to be the Church of the risen Christ, because in Christ we find life, life stories, life giving testimonies. Open Space is a good way of hearing what the Holy Spirit is saying to us.”

Raymond Joso – Mission Initiatives Consultant, Uniting Mission and Education

“I’ve really enjoyed the Open Spaces. It’s worked out that I have sat out and participated actively in multiple groups. It allows for a variety of input into different issues. I have really enjoyed that. It allows you to see how other people think and breaks up the 300 into smaller, manageable groups and are concerned for different things. People can choose what they want, not the Synod choosing what we discuss. It allows everyone to think about things and move on as they see fit.”

Nathaniel Hawken – Illawarra Presbytery


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