Sydney Presbytery AGM 2018

Opening Worship & Closure of Placement for Adrian Sukumar-White.

Opening worship included a closure of placement for Adrian Sukumar-White, who is moving out of his resourcing role within the Tertiary Ministry context. Adrian and his wife Rads have accepted a call to form a Ministry team at Leichhardt Uniting Church. Adrian will be a dual role, as Minister of the Word at LUC and Sydney University Chaplain.

Life & Mission of Sydney Korean Uniting Church.

Did you know that Sydney Korean Uniting Church is the oldest Korean congregation in Sydney – being established in 1974? In the congregations 44 years, the November AGM was the first Presbytery meeting hosted on site. 

How did Sydney Korean UCA come about? Through the leadership of Rev Dr John Brown, Rev Sang Woo Kim and a number of other Korean leaders, initially a worshipping community was established in 1974. The church building as it exists today was completed in 1978.

Sydney Korean UCA’s vision is to ‘Ignite the revival of the individuals, the families and the community through glorifying God in Holy Spirit in the body of the Christ.’

The growing congregation has a well-thought-out community outreach strategy including Service Support, Education Support, Missionary activities and Family events to name a few. A significant part of the focus is on Spiritual Education. Further to this, there is a Korean Language School to help ensure the 2nd and 3rd Generation children learn the Korean language. The focus for the future is on impacting the community through local and international outreach programs.

2017/18 Annual Report + Future Plans.

Vini and Kent led this session, looking at the year that had been and what is on the cards for 2019. The Sydney Presbytery 2017/18 Annual Report was presented to the membership and acknowledgment was made of the important work of the Committees.

A few highlights from the Standing Committee included the transfer of the Marrickville site to the Tonga Parish, creating new energy and opportunity for future growth.

As part of the Mission + Resource strategy, the site at Redfern was sold, freeing up funds for number of things, including the Synod debt commitments of the Presbytery.

The roll out of the Seeds of Growth was a great success thanks to the diligence of the Presbytery Secretary and Business Manager. 

Pastoral Relations Committee has been hard at work, with significant time and space invested in managing Mascot Wesley over the last 18 months. The good news is, a new Minister will join the congregation in February – representing a new chapter for the congregation.

In other news, the Presbytery welcomed two new candidates for ministry in Allison Forest and Jon Owen. The PRC said goodbye to Rev. Ben Gilmour as he departed his role as Chair. Vini thanked Ben for his service. 

In the Tertiary Ministry world, 2018 has been a pivotal time. The last year has seen the launch of a new communications and fundraising strategy and engagement across four university campuses, 2 thriving student housing communities and growing connections to congregational life.

Business and Property Committee has served the Presbytery well – taking great care, exhibiting professionalism and attention to detail.

A few highlights include:

  • Exciting explorations of a redevelopment of a Uniting Church site into a major venue to seat up to 1000 people is been explored in partnership with the Tonga Parish.
  • Trinity Church in Strathfield has been made available under an MoU with the Korean Presbytery.
  • The Presbytery’s donation towards the rebuilding of Lismore Uniting Church after flooding 2 years ago has been deeply appreciated by our sisters and brothers in the Far North Coast Presbytery.
  • Our governance training is becoming well-known across the Synod for its high quality and best-practice training for Church Councilors in their governance roles and responsibilities.

Kent paused to thank Vini for her leadership as she transitioned from Deputy Chair to Chair a year ago. Vini has shown great care and thoughtfulness in her new role and true commitment to the life and work of this Uniting Church, Synod and Presbytery.

Kent went onto note the professionalism and commitment to the Mission – ‘Leading the Church to Life’ shown by each and every Presbytery staff member.

Kent also highlighted some of the year’s major milestones, including an on-going re-organisation of the Tertiary Ministry, engagement in the Synod Pathways Project, several large-scale developments including at Rose Bay, Strathfield and Burwood-Croydon UCA, the Church Council Engagement Strategy and the continual focus on ‘Leading the Church to Life’.

Reports from Candidates.

The Presbytery was thrilled to hear from four candidates who spoke of their experiences over the last year.

Amanda Hay passionately shared about her experience of being placed at MLC for terms 1 and 2. Following this, Amanda shared about her time at PLC for terms 3 and 4. The time she spent at each school has led to important growth for Amanda and has built up her confidence in what was initially a nerve-racking endeavour. Key learnings included the affirmation that our School Chaplains do incredibly important work in what can be a difficult context. Amanda asked that we continue to hold our School Chaplains in prayer. A key piece of personal learning was how vulnerability and strength are tied together. She noted that she witnessed this at Assembly. In 2019, Amanda will begin her practicum.

Andrew Jago reflected on what was a trying and diverse year. Andrew is currently placed at St Stephen’s, which has involved great learning in the area of pastoral care. Further to this, he has assisted with the setting up of a monthly Jazz Night event, which has been a great success. Andrew spoke of finding comfort and freedom in his new forming identity as a Minister of the Word.

Ian Forrest-Jones is in his 2nd year and focused on the highlights including the Integration Group experience. This group has enabled great learning both professionally and personally. The educational supervision has also encouraged strength-based learning. His mentor has also enabled his learning about the Uniting Church’s ethos and regulations.

Viliami Fililava is in first year of formation and is in educational placement at Northmead Uniting Church with Niall Reid.  Being able to reflect theologically and learn from other cultures has been great while also taking him out of his comfort zone.

Jon Owen and Alison Forrest start formation in 2019.

Mascot Wesley Update.

For the last 6-months, the worshipping life of the Mascot Wesley congregation had been put on hold.

The PRC has worked tirelessly on rebuilding trust in a covenantal journey. There were deliberate teachings and discussions on what it means to recommit to community life and reflection upon what it means to be a congregation in the Uniting Church. A JNC was formed and the placement was considered a priority placement and a minister has been selected who is from the Victoria/Tasmania Synod and has considerable experience. The new Minister will begin the placement in February 2019.

Church Council Engagement Strategy Update.

Glen Powell, the Director of Mission at the Presbytery updated the membership on the Church Council Engagement Strategy.

Glen reminded the Presbytery that we take our purpose from the Basis of Union. Paragraph 15 states, the Presbytery is to: 'exercise oversight over the congregations within Its bounds, encouraging them to strengthen one another's faith, to bear one another's burdens and exhorting them to fulfil their high calling In Christ Jesus.'

The process of Church Council Engagement involves a 60-minute conversation with three goals:

1. Strengthen relationship

2. Evaluation of the Presbytery Strategic Plan.

3. Receive feedback on the possible foci for the Synod's Pathways Plan.

At the time of the AGM, 9 out of 35 congregations have been visited to date. Presbytery staff and Committee members will continue to the strategy into early 2019.

The conversations have been fruitful, deepening relationships and creating avenues for partnership and opportunity for a fuller understanding of the different experiences and expressions of Church with Sydney Presbytery.

Update on the Mission & Resource Strategy.

Kent Crawford presented an update the Mission and Resource Strategy – focusing on two sites - Rose Bay and South Strathfield.

Kent reminded the Presbytery why the M+R Strategy was necessary. A few years ago, the NSW/ACT Synod asked Sydney Presbytery to participate in their debt repayment. The Presbytery Standing Committee responded to their call for assistance, with the important condition that should a re-development be possible, that will be explored first.

The South Strathfield development will be focused on Affordable Housing, which is greatly needed across Sydney. The Rose Bay DA has been made extremely complicated due to concerns being raised regarding heritage by local council. An appeal to the Land and Environment Court is being considered. A second DA is being applied for and there are possible solutions if the local council is open to negotiation.