Friday, 24 May 2019

Sowing for the Future

Written by Dr Deidre Palmer
Rev Dr Heather den Houting, Rev David Baker, Dr Deidre Palmer and Colleen Geyer Rev Dr Heather den Houting, Rev David Baker, Dr Deidre Palmer and Colleen Geyer

It was inspiring and renewing to participate in the Synod of Queensland meeting from Friday 17 May until Monday 20 May 2019.

We heard many wonderful stories of the ways God is at work through the faithful and passionate witness of people in local Congregations, Presbyteries, Agencies, schools and communities in the Uniting Church in Queensland.

The theme of the Synod was “Sow”, based on 2 Corinthians 9: 6-8.

6 The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.

We were invited to reflect on and participate in God’s abundant mission generously.

Dr Victoria Lorrimar led us in Bible studies, encouraging us to be open to the surprise of the magnitude of God’s grace and salvation, and inviting us to participate in God’s ongoing work of creation.

The Synod launched its Covenant Action Plan, highlighting the importance of our “Walking Together as First and Second Peoples”.

Each morning at 7.30am, Synod members had the opportunity to be led by members of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress in a “grounding” experience.

It was inspiring to be led by Richard Cassidy in a reflection on our connection with land, surrounded by the beautiful bush chapel at Alexandra Park Conference Centre.

Following this, we walked to the lagoon, where we each threw a small pebble in the water and spoke of the ripple effect of our actions toward reconciliation and justice.

It was encouraging to see such an intergenerational membership of Synod.

A number of the young adult members had been part of the National Young Adult Leaders Conference (NYALC) in January.

Prior to the Synod meeting, we had gathered to hear their reflections on NYALC, and their experiences in their local churches.

They have continued to support one another in their Christian discipleship and strengthen the community they share across Australia.

In the closing worship of the Synod meeting, the Moderator, Rev David Baker, sent us out with a word from 1 Thessalonians 5, calling us to encourage one another and rejoice in the faithfulness of God.

A fitting conclusion to a Synod that was a source of encouragement and joy.