13 Appreciation: Craig Mitchell
That the Assembly resolve:
To thank Craig Mitchell for his faithful service to Christ in encouraging people of all ages to grow in faith and actively live out their discipleship.
Craig worked with the Assembly as National Director for Formation, Education and Discipleship, from January 2014 to June 2017. This new role was established by the Assembly Standing Committee in 2013 to provide a fresh focus on a significant priority of the Assembly – forming lifelong disciples within learning communities of faith.
Craig undertook a national research project for the Assembly in 2011 and 2012 which led to the emphasis on how congregations form and educate people in faith, ministry and mission. Craig’s research offered the church a vision for congregations as learning communities for the 21st century. It encouraged a collaboration between the Assembly and other sectors of the church to resource this.
Craig conducted training events and workshops across Australia, in synods and presbyteries. He resourced the Formation, Education and Discipleship Working Group (the FEDs), the national lay & leadership educators’ networks, the national presbytery ministers gathering, and other ecumenical contexts.
Craig experimented with a range of online and digital communication methods, particularly in building communities of shared interest around forming disciples. He conducted FED Stories events, a kind of “TED Talks”, in Canberra, Sydney, and Brisbane, where congregational leaders told stories about how they form faith across generations.
Craig has initiated national events including a national colloquium on Forming Disciples in Mission with a broad focus including multiculturalism, evangelism, spiritual practices, formation, and lay education; and a national conference and learning intensive on 21st century faith formation in partnership with the NSW-ACT Synod.
A key part of Craig’s role was about collaboration. Craig contributed to and helped co-ordinate the gatherings of the National Lay & Leadership Educators Network, the Assembly Mission and Evangelism Network, the National Schools Consultative Group, and the National Youth & Children’s Ministry Coalition meetings.
Craig was an advisor to the Education for Ministry Working Group, particularly about the ministry of Lay Preacher and the ministry of Pastor – and has coordinated development the new national training and assessment frameworks and standards for Lay Preachers. Craig has been a Member of the Assembly Worship Working Group. He has been part of the Planning Team for the national Songwrite gathering in 2015, and the SA Synod Songwrite event in 2016. He co-facilitated the national Worship Colloquium in 2014 and was a member of the planning team for the national Transforming Worship Conference 2017.
Along with his colleague Tom Kerr, Craig has provided support and oversight for national youth events including NCYC, NYALC and About FACE. He worked with Tom on running FED Events consultations and improving policies for national youth events.
Craig developed the series of short videos “We are the Uniting Church”, exploring who we are as a church and what we believe. He oversaw the development of the “Walking Together” multimedia education resource on the revised Preamble to the Uniting Church Constitution.
Craig has been working with the FED Working Group on new resources for baptism and confirmation in the Uniting Church, and provided the initial development for UnitingLearning, a national initiative for an online portal & virtual learning.
Craig’s passionate commitment to Christian formation, education and discipleship has shaped his ministry and contributions to the Uniting Church.
Proposer: Rob Floyd
Seconder: Colleen Geyer