Day 3 Afternoon Session

Day 3 Synod
Reflection on MSR
Much anticipated report of the Major Strategic Review group was tabled. As expected this report has generated a lot of passionate conversations and strong views expressed from both side of the conversation. As I have mentioned to you in our earlier conversations, this group was set up in response to a resolution of the last Synod that a review of across the Synod wide based operation, Presbyteries and congregations tasked with reviewing Synod operations in response to the Uniting our Future process. We were directly affected by this, the South Geelong congregation was closed and the congregation amalgamated with East Geelong UC. The East Geelong Uniting Tennis club was sold off and relocated to its new site in Breakwater.
Where are we? This is just a glimpse of the conversations that has been had in response to some of the recommendations made by this group. (Recommendations posted on our website under heading ‘Synod 2016’) What is clear from the group’s report consultation was far reaching, thorough and all areas of operation consulted. Recommendations made so far, though still very hotly discussed, will bring about significant changes to how Synod and Presbyteries function. I want to assure you of how much the processes of the church has assisted the Synod in discerning the sense of what God through the Holy Spirit is saying to us.
The details of this report has clear implications on the governance of all Synod based operation, Presbytery and indeed congregations. These changes will mostly have direct affect on Synod and Presbyteries but will have a secondary flow on affect on our life as a congregation. These changes are all about bringing a CULTURAL change to the life and work of the Synod. It is about recommitting the Church to what is the ‘Primary focus’ not that which is ’secondary’ as my friend Rev Brendon puts it. In my view at this stage, even though there are ongoing sticking points around issues raised by proposal 19 and 23 I am confident that the underlying spirit in which this report and subsequent recommendations seeks to articulate, are about recommitting the Church to doing what is at the core of  its calling to be the church.
In light of these proposals, I want to simply highlight what in my view are essential part of these proposals that will have the biggest impact on the life of our two congregations.
  1. Streamlining governance , Boards that used to be operating separately such as CTM and BOMAR, Commission for Mission will come under one umbrella so that it is able to communicate effectively with each other, sharing their resources and streamlining processes. All Synod based ministries will be under two main group, one is the “Ministry and Mission Committee” and the “Property and Operations Committee” They report directly to the Standing Committee.
  2. Coordinated and closer working understanding and practice between Synod and Presbyteries, funding realigned to reflect these missional priorities.
  3. Reexamining the roles of Presbytery ministers, Chairperson, Pastoral care to ensure best utilisation of resources and personnel.
What might be the impact on our congregations?
Utilisation of Synod resources towards mission and mission related activities.
pastoral care minister’s availability to support our congregations on pastoral matters as it has been the case in the past with issues known to you all.
As debate are still taking place I will report more later.
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