Uniting the scattered community! (Saltbush)
The NSW/ACT Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia, at its April 2016 meeting, made a commitment to find new ways to support ministry in the rural and remote regions of New South Wales. This was in response to a review of rural ministry provided through a partnership between Uniting Mission & Education, the Rural Ministry Unit, the Riverina, Macquarie Darling and New England North West presbyteries, and Uniting Aboriginal & Islander Christian Congress (UIACC).
This is not the first time that the NSW/ACT Synod has voiced its desire to affirm ministry in rural and remote regions, but rather than be defined by the past it is time to be embracing of the future with all its possibilities within the continuing presence and work of God.
From these conversations and convictions has come the Saltbush Project which as a Synod we will see in terms of Uniting the Scattered Community.
Uniting the Scattered Community means:
- Working together to affirm the place of Uniting Christian communities and their presence within their local communities, irrespective of style of gathering, location, size.
- Radically discerning the place and nature of the work of ministry leaders for the rural church. This could mean Scattered Community Ministers working together in team Ministry, irrespective of location. This could mean a full time Minister for Project Reconnect.
- Embracing the place of a renewed and creative Ruminations (rural ministry publication), Project Reconnect (digital worship support), Rural Ministry Unit (RMU2), team Ministry and opportunities to gather Christian communities.
- Bringing our opportunities to connect, communicate, worship and financially contribute into the 21st Century!
Uniting the Scattered Community (Saltbush) seeks to reaffirm that the way of Christ (and the Uniting Church) is not bound by numbers, wealth, success or location, and that together we can enable and encourage those who often feel they are the least. As together we ponder the affirmation of rural and remote Christian communities within a changing world and society we will find, if we are creative, risky and faithful, new life even beyond rural/urban, Presbytery/Synod, us/them boundaries. Uniting the Scattered Community is an invitation to us all to be affirming and enabling of Uniting Christian communities living out the way of Christ within their local communities and the wider world.
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