Pathways: Setting a course for the future
Pathways is an opportunity for everyone across the Synod of NSW and ACT to participate in listening and conversation that will shape the planning of your Presbytery and the Synod for the next 40 years. The goal of Pathways is to take seriously God’s call for us to be a “fellowship of reconciliation… through which Christ may work and bear witness to himself” (Basis of Union, para.3).
In October 2017, the Synod meeting heard from the Pathways pilot that was conducted throughout 2017 with the Presbyteries of Parramatta Nepean and New England North West. The Synod approved that Pathways be extended to engage with all Presbyteries across the Synod and the Uniting Aboriginal Islander and Christian Congress. The aim is to develop a plan that begins with the hopes, dreams and struggles of local congregations and missional activity and that encourages and supports the Church’s mission.
Between March to September in 2018, Pathways will be working with congregations, inviting each of us to reflect on who we are and who we are called to be, seeking to identify shared priorities for ministry and mission. The project will run across all presbyteries and the UAICC throughout 2018 and will report at the 2019 Synod meeting.
The 2017 report to the Synod outlined primary findings from the pilot Presbyteries. The process has been effective in renewing relationships across the Councils of the Uniting Church. In diverse groups, people are invited to explore what motivates them and who we are called to be as the Uniting Church. It also invites us to share our hopes and dreams and the challenges that we face.
Pathways has helped us to affirm that we are deeply motivated to share the love and grace of God. We are also inspired by the Uniting Church’s commitment to social justice, diversity of thought and inclusiveness.
While we are good at providing hospitality for all kinds of often vulnerable people, many of us are struggling to tell God’s story. We love our neighbours and seek to serve them in practical ways, but we don’t know how to tell them that God loves them too! We also face challenges in terms of the leadership resources that are available and how we make meaningful connections with our local communities.
It is time for us to take seriously our calling to be a “fellowship of reconciliation” and step out in faith to discover where Pathways can lead the Church.
Pathways coordinators and facilitators are looking for passionate members of the Church who are committed to growing new opportunities or identifying and supporting the many existing ways the Uniting Church can be an active body of Christ in the world.
How will your Church be involved in this journey?
In February 2018, Pathways will be undertaking training with the Uniting Church Engagement Team and the Uniting Mission and Education Resource Team in order to widen the consultation process across the Synod.
Pathways will then be making initial contact with Presbyteries and congregations in March, with workshops between March and September 2018.
In the meantime, Pathways will continue its work in the Parramatta Nepean and New England North West Presbyteries.
Keep a look out for more information and be prepared to participate in the workshops and/or offer feedback via the Pathways website.