Tuesday 16th of MAY, 2017

BURWOOD/CROYDON UNITING CHURCH: Areas of Mission Overview.

Members of the Burwood Croydon congregation gave an impassioned overview of their areas of mission. Here are some of the highlights.

Over the last year, BUCA has had over 300 visitors through their support & outreach programs!

Music Connections is a life-changing music therapy program for children & their parents/carers. The program helps children build social skills - while providing a support network for their parents and carers.

Uniting Care Burwood Preschool currently has 80 regular kids come through its doors each week. 30 of these kids come from low-income families (which means a combined income of less than $42K per year).

Community Engagement & Social/Cultural Inclusion programs are a big part of BUCA's missional focus.

  • English conversation classes, running since 1989 & completely free.
  • Burwood Arts, involving music, art and drama programs.
  • Café ministry + Pancake Day + Aboriginal Family Fun Day + Burwood Festival / Christmas in the Park.

BUCA Development Project: Towards an 'Enlivened Town Centre'.

This exciting development project will involve a complete remodelling of the church hall, offices and grounds. This project will increase BUCA's ability to help create social impact in the local community and generate revenue for areas of mission.

The project has been signed off by the congregation. Next steps: Presbytery and Standing Committee sign off.

http://burwood-croydon.unitingchurch.org.au/

 

Period of Discernment.

Jenny Ducker from Wesley Mission spoke about the 'Period of Discernment' process, which works to enable the church and individuals together, to discern God’s call on their life for future ministry.

Want more information? Visit: http://ume.nswact.uca.org.au/period-of-discernment

Jenny put out the call for anyone who is interested in being a mentor for those pursuing their call. If you are interested, please contact Jenny: Jenny.Ducker@wesleymission.org.au

The Presbytery affirmed that James Aaron is ready for Ordination subject to receiving a call to a placement. We rejoiced with James as we heard about his journey of formation and his sense of readiness to bear the deep responsibilities of Specified Ministry in the Uniting Church. We continue to pray for and with him that a suitable placement with be identified soon.

James Aaron (pictured).

The Presbytery also had the pleasure of endorsing four applicants to candidate for Ordained Ministry.

UNITING - Exploring our Future Horizons.

The Presbytery also heard from Dr Andrew Young – Project Director, Future Horizons Strategy at Uniting.
 
Uniting are working to develop a strategy for the next 10-years on how best to focus their energy, resources and skills to help those most in need in Australia.
 
Andrew invited all Uniting Church members and stakeholders to take part in this discernment process. There are two ways to get involved:

1.) Register for a Consultation Forum. The Sydney Forum will be held on June 24th. For a list of dates & times, CLICK HERE.

2.) Complete a short SURVEY HERE.

Mission and Resource Strategy Update - from Kent.

The Presbytery spent significant time considering an impasse between the Marrickville Congregation and the Presbytery Standing Committee after more than two years of work together to define a way forward for this small, yet faithful, Congregation.  The Presbytery heard from the Life and Witness Consultation Team who did work across 2015 with the Congregation as well as the Pastoral Relations Committee and Presbytery staff who have worked with Marrickville over recent years. This has included explorations of possible mergers and the possibility of closing down, with the majority of 2016 spent negotiating a possible merger with Petersham.  The Presbytery noted that the Congregation meeting to decide on this possible merger was unable to reach a quorum at Marrickville.

The Presbytery also heard from three members of the Marrickville Church Council who had differing views as to the best way forward. The Standing Committee confirmed that consultations with Marrickville by the staff and committees of the Presbytery have taken place slowly and by the values of the Church in seeking to practice prayerful discernment in community. The Standing Committee ultimately recommended the following course of action in response to the staff and PRC’s assessment that Marrickville Congregation’s lacked the capacity to fulfil the purpose, function and responsibilities of a Congregation as specified in Regulation 3.1.1, and in the best interests of the mission, witness and service of the Uniting Church within our bounds. The Standing Committee also wanted to ensure that members of Marrickville may continue to gather to worship and fellowship together, even amidst a proposed change to their status as a Congregation.
 
After debating the merits of various ways forward the Presbytery decided by Agreement to affirm the decision of the Standing Committee to exercise its responsibility under Regulation 3.1.3(d)(i) to:

  1. withdraw the formal status of Congregation of Marrickville Uniting Church under Regulations 3.4.3(a) and (b); and
  2. invite worshipping members of Marrickville Uniting Church to apply to the Pastoral Relations Committee for recognition as a Faith Community under Regulation 3.9.2, assuring them of space and times to continue meeting at the Marrickville site, should they so wish; and
  3. require pastoral rolls and all other historical and current records be lodged with the Presbytery Secretary under Regulation 3.4.3(d)(ii); and
  4. task the Pastoral Relations Committee to assist with resourcing a process including a Service of Transition for the Marrickville community in order to acknowledge the many years of faithful witness and service given by members, and to help support members to ongoing participation in the Church as they so choose; and
  5. invite the Tonga Parish to consider moving one of their congregations to the site at Marrickville; and 
  • a. to make space for an English language service on Sunday mornings should the members of Marrickville wish to continue in worship and fellowship as a Faith Community on site; and 
  • b. consider whether they would be willing to oversee a Marrickville Faith Community, should one be recognised by the PRC; and
  • c. to take stewardship responsibility of the Marrickville site; and
  • d. to transfer stewardship of the site they leave behind to the Presbytery for sale so that proceeds, after any agreed costs that need to be spent readying the site at Marrickville, be contributed to the Synod debt repayment strategy.

The Presbytery was made aware that the Tonga Parish had indicated a willingness for one of their sites to be sold to assist with the Synod loan repayment strategy and was willing to invest in leading the Church to life in the Marrickville area as outlined at point 5 above.

We call upon all members of the Uniting Church in our region to give thanks to God for the faithful service of those who have worshipped, witnessed and served as part of the Marrickville Uniting Church Congregation, and to pay our deep respect for the many decades of servant leadership offered by Deaconess Irene Carder and the Congregation Treasurer Heather Muir. We ask also for ongoing prayer for the community as it transitions to a new way of being and for the Tonga Parish as it prepares to bring new leadership to the Church in this area.  May the resurrection life of God in Jesus Christ be with us all.