A Surprising Way – 2 June 2013
Last week I was able to join around 400 other members of the Uniting Church in Queensland at our 30th Synod meeting, which was held at Alexandra Headland on The Sunshine Coast (24th -28th May). Ministers and lay people from right across the congregations and Agencies of the Church gathered to report and discuss, worship and pray for the ministry and responsibility that we have to God and to the people in Queensland. It was great for me to catch up with many colleagues and people that are part of this wonderful Uniting Church family.
So this time last week I was worshipping in a large sporting stadium at Unity College in Caloundra. Unity College is an Ecumenical School embracing the Catholic and Uniting Church’s traditions and has been operating since 2006. The service was a colourful mix of liturgy including traditional and contemporary hymns and songs led by an extremely talented group of musicians and worship leaders. The service incorporated an acknowledgement of the traditional owners and an inspirational message from the moderator and a lengthy period of recognizing a number of significant volunteers within the ministry of the Uniting Care network as well as all the recent retired ministers in the past 18months and a time of memorial minutes for ministers who have died since the last Synod. It was a very meaningful service and one new Uniting Church minister who has come from a different denomination thought that we honoured the service and ministry of our clergy and lay people in a very dignified and appropriate manner.
I would like to continue to place before our Congregation the Together on the Way, enriching communities (TOTWEC) journey that the Uniting Church in Queensland is on. For the past three years our Uniting Churches in Queensland have been moving toward a vision of what the church should be like in 2020. It is a deliberate call to mission involving a process that is engaging all of our churches and agenmcies across Queensland. This is the Vision 2020 that arose directly from the Call and Gospel statement adopted by the 28th Synod in May 2010. It is a 10yr plan and we are still in the first third of the journey.
In response to the call of Christ, in light of Holy Scripture and the Basis of Union, the Uniting Church in Queensland is committed to:
Uniting in Christ
acting with love, living with hope, witnessing in faith, working for justice
Our Gospel Values as the Uniting Church in Queensland as we share in God’s mission in the world, will be guided by the following values that derive from and give expression to God’s reconciling action in Jesus Christ. We are called to live out these values:
Faithfulness, Compassion, Humility, Truthfulness, Justice
These gospel values will inform our lives as individuals and as a community of the Uniting Church in Queensland.
As a whole, the Uniting Church in Queensland wants to develop 9 key focus areas and each Congregation are to keep these in mind as we develop our particular focus for mission and ministry. The nine key focus areas are identified on the Vision 2020 colour wheel in the Atruim. They are 1) to be a prayerful listening church. 2) to have God-centred and life-related worship. 3) Forming active and accountable disciples of Jesus. 4) be confident in sharing faith. 5) to be Theologically informed, creative and visionary in leadership. 6) to be working for Christian unity. 7) to be engaged in authentic community relationships. 8) to be reaching out and speaking for justice and peace for all creation. 9) to be organized for mission.
As we move into a growing phase of ministry over the next six months may I commend to prayer your participation in the life and witness of the work of God in this place?
May Jesus surprise you on the way….this week. Rev Brad Foote