Closure of ministry remarks - Rev Dr Chris Walker

First, let me say that while I did anticipate retiring at the end of this month having concluded with the Assembly, I have been asked to teach full-time next semester at Murdoch University for the WA Synod.  So I will not be retiring just yet!

Having said that, I do want to say a few words about my time with the Assembly.

It has been a privilege to work with the Assembly over the past nearly nine years, first as National Consultant, Theology and Discipleship and then as National Consultant, Christian Unity, Doctrine and Worship.

I have valued being part of the Assembly team and being involved in the national life of the Uniting Church. Gregor Henderson was President when I began and Terence Corkin the General Secretary.

I have appreciated having frequent contact with the chairpersons of the main working groups I have been connected with: Wes Campbell and Alistair Macrae in Doctrine; Paul Walton, David Pitman and Graham Vawser in Worship; and Maureen Postma and Morag Logan in Christian Unity. Each of these working groups has a positive spirit and have produced various resources and held conferences.

I also had connections with the Mission and Evangelism Network and especially people such as Ruthmary Bond and Peter Armstrong.  There were also links with the Lay and Leadership Educators Network and Craig Mitchell.

I maintained links with the theological colleges and valued the relationships with the various people such as Andrew Dutney.

The team of people in the Assembly has changed over the years. I will not name everyone but it has been good to share with people such as Tony Floyd and Apwee Ting, Craig Mitchell, Elenie Poulos and Matt Pulford; Glenda Blakefield and Carolyn Thornley; Rob Floyd, Ji Zhang and Sef Carroll in UnitingWorld and many others. Anna Catliffe has been very helpful and I have appreciated Jenny Bertalan and others in the Assembly office such as Esther Baidar.  I have valued connections with the Presidents following Gregor Henderson, namely Alistair Macrae, Andrew Dutney and Stuart McMillan.

My ministry has been outlined in the Narration of Steps so I will not repeat what has been said. I have endeavoured to bring theological expertise, my commitment to the Uniting Church, and communication and organisational skills to the tasks I have been involved with.  Some of these have been in response to requests from the Assembly and ASC; others have been initiated by the working groups; and others I have initiated myself.

It has been challenging and rewarding. It has involved many meetings, travel, speaking and writing. I will miss it but wish Colleen Geyer and the Assembly team members God’s guidance and blessing in the days ahead.

God be with you and with the Assembly Standing Committee and all of us as we move into the future.