At the recent Annual Synod Mission Resource Fund (SMRF) Consultation, representatives from presbyteries and the Synod considered 14 applications from across the Synod.
These ranged from Broken Hill to Yamba to Goulburn and for projects to resource presbyteries, local congregations and new ministries. Ten projects were prioritised for funding which will enable a diversity of people across New South Wales and the ACT to experience God’s love in their place.
The work of the Uniting Aboriginal Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) with Aboriginal people in Broken Hill, led by the Rev. Neville Naden, will now continue until 2014. Partnering with Bush Church Aid, this project has already successfully established a range of community activities and a vibrant congregation which focuses on youth.
An adult literacy program for Aboriginal people in the Clarence Valley was supported to build on the successful pilot funded through the UAICC, seeking to empower local people and build connections.
The long-term ministry of Cabramatta Uniting Church with the Vietnamese community was supported as it seeks to grow new leadership and further opportunities to minister with Vietnamese people in other areas.
Two presbyteries sought funding to better enable them to support and resource congregations and ministries in their regions.
The New England North West presbytery presented its Strategic Mission Plan 2011-2016 and gained SMRF funding to enable a 0.3 educational-focused ministry position.
The Riverina Presbytery sought support for a discipleship education position which will focus on empowering leadership for youth and families ministry and on fostering lay education. A key component will be the sharing of resources and expertise across the three presbyteries in western areas.
Two congregations sought funding for positions to grow new ministry — with hopes for new faith communities or worship gatherings:
Goulburn congregation seeks to grow a parallel congregation, with support from the existing congregation, which extends its successful ministry with families and children.
Albion Park sought support for a Community Outreach Facilitator who will encourage missional leadership and capacity within the congregations so members might increasingly be connected to the wider community; growing and strengthening the bridges between church and community.
Mt Druitt sought funding over a five-year period to develop a missional community network. This funding will partly support the current community minister/team leader and also enable a new position which will establish the network.
Two Hunter Presbytery applications were prioritised for funding. New Lambton to extend its focus on ministry with children and families with a position to give leadership to this work. And support for the congregations in the Upper Hunter to enable a consolidated approach and ministry team to focus on identifying with the congregations’ missional projects, nurturing gifts, training and offering leadership.