Future directions for the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania will now be guided by four priorities endorsed by the Synod meeting today.
These are seen to be keys to the church’s ability to make decisions enabling it to be faithful to God’s call to mission.
The meeting resolved to adopt the following four priorities for the life of the church over the next five years, 2011 – 2015:
1. Discipleship – to give sustained attention to growing disciples.
Living Jesus’ Way, is a free and loving response to personal experience of God’s love and grace. Disciples, formed in the character of Christ, adopt Jesus’ disposition to the world. Being disciples and living as grace-filled communities of faith means attending to prayer, reading and studying the scriptures, discernment and other spiritual disciplines.
2. Leadership – to cultivate and free spiritually formed, visionary leaders.
The UCA is a missional Church, called and sent into the world to bear witness to Christ. The Holy Spirit calls and equips leaders to build up the Church in response to its vocation.
3. Partnership – to seek and respond to opportunities for friend-making partnership.
Jesus’ tradition called people into friendship. More than relationship, greater than partnership, Christ-like friendship is grounded in shared convictions, values and commitments. Joining with others to participate in God’s mission requires us to befriend partners and to recognise the Christ in those with whom we travel.
4. Risk-taking – to develop a culture of inspired innovation.
Continuing to follow Jesus in a constantly changing world requires the Church to be an inspired, innovative community, embracing risk-taking initiatives in worship, witness and service.
The Synod meeting also resolved to direct Synod boards, committees and other bodies:
• To ensure that these priorities are incorporated in strategic and operational plans during the period 2011 – 2015; and
• To indicate clearly in reports to the Synod, the Standing Committee and other governance bodies how these priorities are incorporated.
These resolutions follow the 2007 meeting of the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania which authorised the general secretary to pursue the process of strategic planning, now known as On the Way Together.
The 2008 Synod meeting adopted five themes that formed the basis of that process: encountering Christ in community, living God’s transforming story, spirited listening, engaging diversity and liberating stewardship.
Since that time many resources have been developed and the On the Way Together consultant Rev John Emmett has worked with presbyteries, congregations and other groups to help them explore those themes and to draw out directions for the future.