Synod meeting accepts discussion paper on just ministry placements

Synod meeting accepts discussion paper on just ministry placements

The Synod meeting has endorsed a discussion paper regarding ministry placements, with a view to sharing resources more across churches that need it.

The proposal was adopted with amendments from the meeting.

The proposal was introduced on the second day of Synod by Associate Secretary Rev. Bronwyn Murphy and Rev. Mark Faulkner.

The discussion paper explores the challenges of finding ministers in regional areas, and ways the church might address this.

“It may come as a shock to you, but we’ve got a problem with placements,” Rev. Murphy said.

“You may have noticed over the past decade or so, things are starting to get harder. It used to be in the rural presbytery that we had difficulty getting ministers and then it shifted to the regional presbytery straddling Sydney Basin and now it’s all over.”

“It’s before you simply to ask for your direction and your guidance as to what is the appetite for change. Where should we put our energies? What would you like to see? Balancing all the changes that the paper tries to address.”

Rev. Faulker outlined the challenges regional areas are facing due to shifting demographics during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“[During the keynote address] Mark McCrindle put up the image that 60 percent of urban people have considered moving to regional areas over the past time,” Rev. Faulkner said.

“And yet I wonder why it is that we feel satisfied when we plop one minister into Dubbo or one minister into Tamworth. And what about Lismore and Coffs Harbor and Wagga and how are we shaping our church to be a broad church?”

At its December 2022 meeting, the Synod Standing Committee approved the appointment of three working groups tasked with preparing a paper on aligned and shared strategy for church planting, to be brought to the 2023 Synod meeting.

Among other things, the paper recommends reclaiming the flexibility of Uniting Church faith communities as agents for local mission, and flexibility in ways to train ministry agents.

The amended proposal saw Synod:

“A Receive the paper

B Commend the proposers to the continued work proposed, including consultation with the scope of our Synod

C Guided by the feedback of this Synod.”

The discussion paper is available online here.

The final day of Synod is currently underway at Katoomba Christian Convention Centre. It will conclude later today.


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