Minutes of Appreciation
The 16th Assembly observed a Minute of Appreciation for people who have served faithfully in national roles with the Uniting Church in Australia.
Rev Dr Amelia Koh Butler, the advocate for Seeking Common Ground Circle of Interest, was thanked for her work in promoting and and encouraging conversation, sharing information and resources in the ecumenical and interfaith life of the Church. Amelia has has served as the Worship and Liturgy Chairperson for the World Methodist Council and played a key role in the past three annual Iftar dinners hosted by the Uniting Church in Australia and Affinity Intercultural Foundation.
The Assembly also thanked Andrew Markwell the Trustee of the John Flynn Foundation for his contribution and work done with Frontier Services before his resignation in 2019.
The Advocate for the Growing in Faith Circle of Interest, Rev Ann Perrin was thanked for the work she has done in encouraging conversation and theological reflection on specific themes which are important in the life of the Uniting Church. Specifically, she has contributed and invited members to contribute stories and reflections on the themes of discipleship, faith at home, disability and inclusion and growing faith amid COVID-19.
As chair of the of UnitingCare Australia Bronwyn Pike was noted for her strong governance experience which was invaluable in guiding UnitingCare Australia in its role in leading the response to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety on behalf of the Church. This was a significant time for UnitingCare Australia and the community services network, and Bronwyn’s support and work ensured that everyone felt that they were in ‘a safe pair of hands’.
In her role as a board member for Frontier Services, Dorothy Creek has been instrumental in providing learning opportunities about our First Nations culture, coordinating with Paul Creek a number of Walks on Country. These walks have provided deep insights into language, culture, and history of our First Nations and how we may provide a different narrative towards reconciliation.
Rev Gregor Henderson was recognised for his long service and very significant contributions as Chairperson of the John Flynn Foundation. In his period as General Secretary, Gregor Henderson also made special arrangements to increase the participation of members of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress in the UCA’s triennial Assembly meetings.
John Baxter was also appreciated for his work as board member with Frontier Services from 2015-2019. His capabilities brought clarity to difficult matters including bequest issues, contested estates, family provision, and testamentary capacity.
Kaye Roberts-Thomson was acknowledged for her role as chair to the Standards for Ministries Committee (SFM) throughout the last triennium having previously been the chair of the Education for Ministry Working Group for two triennia. Kaye’s leadership saw the successful completion of some major reviews which have resulted in significant and widely appreciated changes, including the revised Phase 2 Standards, and Lay Preacher and Pastor Standards.
Rev Dr Matthew Wilson has served as the UCA co-convenor of the UCA - Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) Dialogue for the last 10 years and has been a member of the dialogue since 2009. As co-convenor of the dialogue, Matt has played a pivotal role in the UCA’s national relationship with the Jewish community.
Rev Dr Murray Earl was thanked for his service as Defence Force Chaplain and on the Religious Advisory Committee to the Services (RACS). Murray served as the Uniting Church member for six years and the last two years was the Chair of RACS. During Murray’s leadership, the committee transitioned from a Judeo-Christian Committee, to a multi-faith committee that reflects the Defence Values of inclusion and diversity.
Paul Linossier was acknowledged for his work on the Board of UnitingCare Australia in March 2019. Paul's experience, strategic thinking and collegiate nature was invaluable as a member of what was then a new Board with a refreshed governance charter and arrangement.
Richard Stewart the Trustee of the John Flynn Foundation was also thanked for the significant contributions made when he served on the foundation from its beginning in 2002 until 2019 after 17 years of dedicated work not only to the foundation but also Frontier Services.
Steve Molkentin was recognised for his work as the inaugural Advocate for the Discipling the Next Generations Circle of Interest. Molk brought his experience and wisdom from youth roles in the Qld Synod and NSW/ACT Pulse Team to the task. He also contributed specific and significant experience in podcasting and the use of digital social media.
Frontier Services appreciated the contribution of Stuart McMillan as a trustee of the John Flynn Foundation. The Foundation benefited from Stuart’s long history within the Uniting Church but also his passion for reconciliation between First Nations people and other Australians. Stuart was also recognised for his work as an advocate for the Walking Together as First and Second Peoples Circle where he contributed to the development of liturgy and resources for Acknowledgement of Country, Day of Mourning, National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week.
The Assembly also acknowledged the retiring Chair of UnitingWorld Board Dr Andrew Glenn, and other board retiring members who finished nine years of service, David Hodges, Tina Rendell- Thornton, Margaret Watt and Paul Swadling.
Frontier Services recorded its appreciation to the contribution of Chairperson Rev. Will Pearson. Will has continued John Flynn’s dream of providing a ‘Mantle of Safety’ to those in the bush by personally mentoring many of our Chaplains by providing an ear to listen whenever they may have needed guidance.
UAICC recorded its deep appreciation for Rev. Garry Dronfield who has made a significant contribution to the life of Congress, particularly loving his involvement with the young adults and with the brothers and sisters of the Northern Synod. Garry was also thanked for his service on the Frontier Services Board as Aunty Dianne Torrens’ liaison until December 2019.