Something else in the planning: the National Ministers’ Conference 2014
Every three years the President convenes a set of three conferences for Uniting Church ministers. (It’s really one conference repeated in three locations with three different groups of participants.) It’s my turn to host the National Ministers’ Conference next year and the three locations I’ve chosen are:
• Charleville (30 June- 4 July)
• Sydney (21-25 July) and
• Jerusalem (22-26 September)
The purpose of the conference is to bring together Ministers from across all the Synods to reflect together on
• Ministerial leadership in the church and community,
• Ministerial collegiality,
• The church’s place in Australian society,
• Effectiveness in ministry, and
• Accessing spiritual resources for ministry.
It is an opportunity for participants, in sharing their expertise and experiences together, to be renewed in their vocation as ministers of the Gospel. The core program of the conference is devoted to this purpose and is repeated in each location.
In addition, the conference takes on a special focus suggested by the setting in which it is repeated.
The first set of conferences, convened by Gregor Henderson, was held in Bali, Darwin and Alexandra Headlands. The second set of conferences, convened by Alistair Macrae, was held in Vanuatu, Alice Springs and Adelaide. The Bali and Vanuatu conferences had a focus on the UCA’s regional partnerships in Asia and the Pacific, resourced by UnitingWorld. The Darwin and Alice Springs conferences had a focus on Aboriginal spirituality, resourced by the UAICC. The Alexandra Headlands and Adelaide had a focus on ministry in 21st century, urban Australia, resourced by the local Synods and Presbyteries.
After consulting a range of ministers, the National Directors involved, and the Synod Secretaries I have decided that the 2014 National Ministers’ Conference beheld in:
• Charleville (30 June-4 July) with a focus on renewed commitment to remote Australia (Assembly minute 12.13), resourced by Frontier Services and the UAICC;
• Sydney (21-25 July) with a focus on “living faith and life cross culturally” (Assembly minute 12.17.02), resourced by Uiting Faith & Discipleship (Multicultural and Cross-cultural Ministry) and UnitingWorld; and
• Jerusalem (22-26 September) with a focus on the foundations of faith and ministry in Biblical history and geography, the challenges of witnessing to Christ among people of other faiths, and the UCA’s continuing commitment to fellowship and solidarity with the Palestinian Christian community (ASC minute 11.33).
Who can participate in the National Ministers’ Conference?
• Ministers of the Word and Deacons in active service,
• people serving in the specified ministries of Pastor, Youth Worker or Community Minister, and
• lay-people serving in Presbytery, Synod or Assembly positions which would be designated as placements if filled by someone serving in a specified ministry.
In effect, all those under the particular discipline and placement of the Uniting Church are eligible to attend.
Details will be made available soon and, to help in planning the gatherings, a website will be launched for people to register expressions of intention to attend.