Qld Synod 37: Renewal
Queensland’s 37th Synod has wrapped after 5 days exploring themes of renewal and hope. The meeting commenced at Albert St Uniting Church in Brisbane’s CBD for the induction of new moderator Rev Bruce Moore and a celebration of ministries service, before relocating to its regular home at Alexandra Park Conference Centre on the Sunshine Coast.
Rev Moore, previously serving as Director of Mission with UnitingCare Queensland, called the Synod to a continued movement of prayer, after establishing 40 days of prayer in the lead-up to the Synod meeting. Bible study leaders including Pastor Katie Iles, Pastor Mandy Smith and Dr Paul Jones built on this beginning, considering new life, necessary endings, personal renewal and the foundational principles of discipleship.
Dr Stan Grant addressed the Synod for its annual Norman and Mary Millar Lecture. Dr Grant probed deep and intertwined themes of lament, loss, grief, and hope.
The traditional small group life of Queensland’s 37th Synod was reworked to draw upon the ancient wisdom and practice of Yarning Circles. Meeting each day, Yarning Circles were used to provide opportunities for deep sharing and discernment, with each Circle led by a trained Wayfinder.
Rev Dr Adam McIntosh was appointed by the Synod to take up the role of General Secretary from November. Rev Dr McIntosh has served as Associate Director of Mission within UnitingCare Queensland over the last five years, and as Presbytery Minister, Port Philip West prior to that period. The Synod also marked the conclusion for outgoing General Secretary Rev Heather den Houting, the meeting paying tribute to Rev den Houting's deep and abiding hope in the church, relentless determination, and the transformational body of work she has overseen since 2016.
Powerful stories of renewal were shared from across the Synod, including the congregations of Proserpine, Newlife Moreton, Uniting Life and St Lucia. The Synod heard reports from the widespread community work of UnitingCare Queensland and Wesley Mission Queensland and of institutions of the Synod such as the newly established Uniting Early Learning and Uniting Schools and Colleges.
The Synod was updated on Queensland’s ongoing Plenty strategic journey, with its focus on discipleship, transforming communities, life together and being fit-for-purpose. New discipleship resources were launched at the meeting. The Assembly Act2 team visited to continue the broader national strategic conversation during its season of collective discernment.
Proposals were considered and passed related to governance arrangements, the basis for separate incorporation of institutions of the church, and moves to monitor and improve ministerial wellbeing. A proposal related to public hospital chaplaincy was referred to the Synod Standing Committee for further work.
It was a Synod meeting that explored the gifts we inherit from our ancestors, the challenge of nurturing small, green shoots, and the very purpose of the church. Surrender, prayer, discipleship, and hope emerged as key themes for the journey ahead for the Queensland Synod. The 38th Synod will take place in May 2025.
See lots more fantastic photos on the Queensland Synod Facebook page.