16 Appreciation: Tom Kerr
That the Assembly resolve:
To thank Tom Kerr for his faithful service with the Assembly as National Faith Development Consultant with Youth and Young Adults from 2010-2017. Bringing significant experience in ministry with youth, young adults and children in a range of congregational roles, a regional role and then with the Synod of Queensland, Tom is one of the longest serving and most experienced youth workers in the Uniting Church.
A key part of Tom’s role was to resource national events for youth and young adults.
He provided support and encouragement to the organisers of National Christian Youth Conventions in 2011, 2014 and 2017, helping the key staff and teams reflect on what they were doing, to be aware of the national nature of the event and what that entails, and in debriefing the experience with organising teams. Tom was active in helping promote NCYCs, including being part of thinking through where they might be heading. When NCYC is on, Tom is pretty much everywhere as an encouraging presence, whether that is with leaders or Congress people or with young people themselves.
Tom also provided support and a degree of oversight to the organisers of About FACE in 2012, 2015 and in the lead-up to 2017. This is a completely different kind of event and required a broader set of skills. During this time there was a national discussion on the future of About FACE which Tom facilitated.
One of the most important leadership development activities that we sponsor as a Church is the National Young Adult Leaders’ Conferences. When Alistair Macrae was keen to revive what had been the President’s Young Leaders’ Conference, Tom played a key role in designing and leading these events in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. Along with others, Tom was central in helping this become the deeply transformative event that it is, not only for individuals but for our Church. He was protective of the need for young adults to create their own sense of community and express their own gifts. When you go to an Assembly meeting now, the energy from the young adults has in no small part been engendered at NYALC.
With Drew Hanna, Tom worked on linking the Uniting Church into the ecumenical National Youth Ministry Conferences on the Gold Coast in 2013 and 2015 and also in seeing this as an opportunity to network Uniting Church workers and leaders.
Tom was also a member of the National Youth Activities Reference Committee, the Formation, Education & Discipleship (FED) Working Group, the FED Events Task Group, Uniting Faith & Discipleship and the National Children, Families, Youth and Young Adult Ministry Coalition (now NYCC). He also engaged with the Multicultural and Cross-Cultural National Reference Committee.
Part of Tom’s role was to help resource the church more broadly in ministry with young people, and he has done that in a whole range of ways. He helped NYCC think about a whole range of issues, including how we train and equip people for leadership and ministry. He also made some important contributions in his home synod in encouraging the synod to develop discipleship in digital environments.
Tom networked nationally with people both one-to-one, online and at key events within synods including the School of Discipleship, Summer Madness, Easter Madness, with the First Third Unit in WA, as well as multicultural gatherings of leaders.
As well as taking on the Assembly role half-time, he has also served in the training department of Scripture Union in Queensland, and as a result he has brought a wider focus to his work with the Assembly.
Tom is a people person. He puts people’s well-being and their personal and spiritual development first. People know him as someone who in the first instance cares for them, and who wants them to grow in Christ and to discover all that God has in store for them.
Proposer: Rob Floyd
Seconder: Colleen Geyer