From Rev Dr Ross Kingham and Mrs Judy McKinlay
The period since the November 2020 meeting of presbytery has been one of considerable difficulty, and of challenge.
The weeks prior to Christmas continued to be a time of ongoing adjustments due to COVID-19. This has been our lot for the whole year. Congregation found themselves continually altering how they functioned as communities of faith, amidst the wider social settings in which they exist which themselves were in turmoil.
Questions arose such as:
What is it to be church when we cannot meet, or when we can only meet with an array of restrictions?
What is it to be church when some folk were not able to attend worship services when there were worship services to attend?
What is it to be church when some of our members have not yet felt able to attend worship or small groups or social events?
What is it to be church when Holy Communion is not celebrated?
Leaders across the presbytery have found a multitude of ways to meet the challenge such questions raise. Varied and creative initiatives have been made. Technology has provided a number of options that have proved useful , though not without blips and irritations. Church members have sought out others in fresh and freeing modes of friendship and fellowship. Some of these new practices will prove to be most valuable in the months and years to come. For example, using the phone, internet and paper for fellowship, study, decision-making, counsel, education, and pastoral conversation have proved to be of great value. We are not doing the same in the same way as before – and the Spirit continues to bless and guide our life in our communities of faith.
Over the past few weeks, there have been special developments in our congregations: new ministers have been Inducted in Eurobodalla, Sapphire Coast, Queanbeyan, Wesley (Canberra), and North Belconnen. Geoff Wellington has been ordained at Gungahlin, and Inducted into ministry with the Saltbush team. Ministers have been farewelled from St Margarets/St James (Chris Lockley), Yass (David Stuart), Goulburn MultiCentre (Julie Lawton-Gallard), and Queanbeyan (Amy Junor).
Two congregations have merged to form Woden Valley Uniting Church (ex St James and South Woden).
The Co-chairs have been involved in many of these signature events, alongside other engagements that have included ecumenical conversations and pastoral initiatives, alongside John Squires.
And now, this week, our society is being assailed by the voices of the wounded, as countless women and men raise their cry for justice and respect in great measure. Crying for peace, crying to be heard.
We ask for the blessing of God on all our presbytery leaders, including our wonderful staff, in these challenging days.
To God be the glory!
JUDITH MCKINLAY AND ROSS KINGHAM