The first gathering of the group was in Nov 2007 at Centre for Theology and Ministry in Melbourne. By 2010 we had agreed to formally become part of the UnitingCare Australia network. The following statement was accepted at our 2009 meeting in Brisbane as our statement of purpose.
Introduction and History:
In response to the Basis of Union – The Uniting Church lives within a world-wide fellowship of Churches in which it will learn to sharpen its understanding of the will and purpose of God by contact with contemporary thought. Within that fellowship the Uniting Church also stands in relation to contemporary societies in ways which will help it to understand its own faith and mission (Basis of Union, par 11) – and in keeping with the Uniting Church’s Inaugural Statement to the Nation – We pledge ourselves to hope and work for a nation whose goals are not guided by self-interest alone, but by concern for the welfare of all persons everywhere — the family of the One God — the God made known in Jesus of Nazareth the One who gave His life for others – the missions and agencies of the Uniting Church are committed to responding to the needs of people in Australian communities, working together to make a difference and offer hope.
Following the merger of UnitingCare Australia and the Uniting Missions Network in 2008, the former National Ministers of Missions Group expanded to include Directors of Missions of UnitingCare agencies, and people in similar roles. This group, Uniting Ministry and Missions Network, now encompasses all agencies and missions of the Uniting Church in Australia.
Uniting Ministry and Missions Network provides an opportunity for those working in Uniting Church missions and agencies with particular responsibility for mission and culture, to connect, dialogue, engage and reflect on the policies and practices of the Uniting Church in its ministry with people, in particular in community services. The network will:
- Engage representatives from agencies and missions in relevant conversations and meetings in order to build a shared understanding of current issues facing faith-based community service providers.
- Reflect on current issues facing agencies and missions, and seek to offer these reflections to the Uniting Church Assembly and Synods, UnitingCare Australia, and Synod UnitingCare agencies and Uniting Church missions to inform theological considerations and positions, and practical service outcomes
- Provide peer support to people in similar roles through shared resources and learning opportunities
- Explore the possibility of becoming a UnitingCare Australia network
Uniting Ministry and Missions Network is open to those who work within a Uniting Church agency or mission, and who are responsible for the congruence between the culture and community in which missions and agencies are found; and the Uniting Church of which the agencies and missions are a part. Initially, the network will be coordinated by a Convenor, who is also a member of the network.
Uniting Ministry and Missions Network will usually meet once annually, face-to-face; and as required via teleconference and email communications. Members will also be informed of network events and issues via a regular email newsletter.
This document was agreed to by those at the annual gathering,
Wesley House Brisbane, Friday 7th August 2009
Convenor – Rev Peter McDonald
NATIONAL MINISTRY & MISSION NETWORK GATHERING
7th August 2009 – Wesley House, 140 Ann Street, Brisbane City 4000
Glenda Blakefield, Lin Hatfield-Dodds, Sue Barber and Rosemary Carter
Members of the network met in Brisbane on 7 August at Wesley Mission Brisbane’s new five green star rated building, Wesley House.
In the morning, our Queensland colleagues shared resources and learnings from their work and roles. Electronic resources are available from our Queensland colleagues.
This contribution facilitated discussions for us on issues such as how we understand church, what is the place of agencies and missions in the mission of the church, is the community services work of the church an expression of the church or an extra add-on.
1 . It was agreed that the discussion about the place of agencies and mission in the mission of the church (ie is the community services work of the church an expression of the church or an extra add on) were important and a more in-depth discussion would be facilitated at our next forum.
In the afternoon, the draft purpose for the network was discussed, amended and agreed upon (copy attached). A significant discussion was held about asking to be a network of UnitingCare Australia.
2. It was agreed that we continue to explore the possibility of becoming a UnitingCare Australia network.
A discussion was held regarding an upcoming “Assembly Evangelism Consultation” in which Robert Watson is a participant / presenter.
A discussion was held regarding maximising the potential pool of participants at the annual gathering. Sydney and Melbourne are the most likely venues for this purpose. The next meeting will be in Sydney around the times of the UTC Annual Seminar weekend. Keith and Chris will advise regarding the dates in due course. The theme of our next gathering will be shaped by Parramatta Mission.
3. It was agreed that the next meeting will be hosted by Keith Hamilton and Chris Bertinshaw at Parramatta Mission – Sydney. The agenda (refer item 1) of the gathering would be shaped by the experience of Parramatta mission.
Convenor – Rev Peter McDonald
UnitingCare Wesley Adelaide, 10 Pitt St, Adelaide 5000