Report: August Meeting of Presbytery

23 Aug 2020 by Rev Dr John Squires in: Formation and Discipleship Resources

A report on the August meeting of Presbytery

From Rev Dr John Squires
Presbytery Minister - Wellbeing & Presbytery Secretary


56 people from across the Canberra Region Presbytery met last Saturday morning for the August meeting of Presbytery. In the course of the morning, we elected a new Co-Chair, adopted a missional budget, engaged in conversations about the challenges we are facing, and shared with hope about we we are reimagining our sense of “church”.

Two people had been nominated for the position of Co-Chairperson of the Presbytery, to serve alongside Judy McKinlay in leading our Presbytery. Both people had submitted a written statement, and were given opportunity to address the Presbytery, as we met by ZOOM. After a time for prayerful discernment, the Rev. Dr Ross Kingham was elected by members of Presbytery to fill that position. The Standing Committee had previously determined that the term of this position would commence from the meeting of Presbytery in August 2020 and run to the end of December 2021.  

Ross is well known to many in this Presbytery. He served in ministry from 1972 until 1985, at which time he took up the position of Director of Barnabas Ministries, an ecumenical agency which seeks to nurture the spiritual needs of church leaders and their spouses or partners. Ross retired from that position in 2011 and has since provided supply ministry in seven Congregations within the Canberra Region Presbytery.

Ross has previously served as Chairperson of this Presbytery (1983-1985) and as Pastoral Care Minister for the Presbytery (2005-2011, part-time). He most recently provided ministry supported to the people of Bega-Tathra in the aftermath of the 2017 bushfires, and earlier this year he was accredited as a Disaster Response Chaplain. We look forward to the leadership and guidance that Ross, in conjunction with Judy, will bring to our Presbytery. 

Jared Mitchell was thanked for his willingness to act as Co-Chair over the past three months, until this election could take place. Jared now resumes as the Deputy Chairperson of the Presbytery.

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The Mission Budget is designed to ensure that Presbytery focuses its resources to meet the core commitment “to assist the congregations and other bodies within its bounds to discern the mission of God in their local areas, and discover, access and develop the resources that are available to enable them to live out the mission of God.”

The budget projects a total expenditure of $486,675, of which $336,955 is to fund the two Presbytery Ministers, the fulltime Presbytery Operations Manager, and a part-time Administration Officer. $60,000 will contribute to the interest and repayment of some of the capital of the loan with Uniting Financial Services. 

The missional orientation of this budget is designed to ensure that Presbytery staff can strategise new missional developments, support ministry leadership, ensure the increasing compliance requirements are met, and contribute to the wider mission and service of the Uniting Church.

This expenditure will be funded from a projected income of $474,800, plus some accrued funds. Income includes contributions from Congregations ($225,000), income from Pilgrim House ($180,000), and government support during the current COVID-19 situation ($54,000), and some other miscellaneous income.

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In the last section of the meeting, participants were sent into “breakout rooms” of 5 or 6 people, to discuss a series of questions relating to the impact of the current restrictions, because of the coronavirus pandemic, and how we are grappling with the challenges we are facing from that these restrictions.

Amy Junor (from Queanbeyan) had recorded a series of interviews with people in our Presbytery—from the country (Daniel Mossfield at Crookwell), the Coast (Duncan McDiarmid and Kaye Anderson at Eurobodalla), and the Capital (Darren Wright at Gungahlin on the Northside; and Elizabeth Raine, Sue Wald, Dorothea Wojnar and Bill Lang from Tuggeranong on the Southside). These interviews were provided to provoke the thinking of Presbytery members before the meeting. The links to the interviews are at the end of this article.

The questions that we were asked to explore in the small groups were:

If we’re in this situation for the next 6-12 months, what are the challenges your congregation are likely to face?
Given these challenges, how are you reimagining a sense of being church in the communities to which you are called in witness, worship and service?
What are the first two steps you are going to take to help this become a reality?
Who are you going to tell about these steps to keep yourself accountable?

You might like to consider these for yourself, or in a small group in your Congregation. 

The videos of the interviews can be seen at
Daniel @ https://vimeo.com/447367026/9a2ffbdf9a

Duncan and Kaye @ https://vimeo.com/447648198/e40c32e225

Darren @ https://vimeo.com/446697971/ba50b74460

Elizabeth, Sue, Dorothea and Bill @ https://vimeo.com/447030335/9f50ad75cd

Please ask the person or people from your Congregation who are serving as members of Presbytery, what took place in their small group discussion—and continue the conversation with them!

John Squires
Secretary to the Presbytery
Presbytery Minister—Wellbeing 

Canberra Region Presbytery
Uniting Church in Australia
0408 024 642
johns@nswact.uca.org.au
https://canberra.uca.org.au/
blogs on ‘An Informed Faith’
at https://johntsquires.com/