I can finally tell you that I have a new ministry role from the start of 2014. I will be the Uniting Church's National Director for Formation, Education and Discipleship. This is a five year appointment in a new role arising from the national review of Christian Education. I'm very excited about the role, although the decision to leave Uniting College has not been an easy one. I started at the College 9 years ago, and after a long and complex journey of change, it feels like we are starting to hit our stride, so to speak. I have tremendous respect for my colleagues there and for what they will continue to do for the sake of the mission of God.
I will be based in SA and working from home (no move to Sydney in case you wondered.) There is a new Working Group on Formation, Education and Discipleship with Ian Price as Convenor and a bunch of excellent people on board. It's a developmental role, which I love, and I believe that I can bring my full range of experiences, skills and learning to it. At the same time, there are some significant responsiblities here and I have to grow in the job to be able to do it faithfully and well. And that's the way it ought to be.
I hope to continue as an adjunct faculty member with the ACD, Uniting College and Flinders University.
Regrettably, the decision-making process has been drawn out which has resulted in a very short departure window at the College. So I finish up next week before some study leave and annual leave. That has not been easy for all involved and its seems rather sudden and unfinished at College.
I feel a sense of call from God to this role. I am deeply passionate about helping the church hear and follow Christ's call to transformation, personal and social. I have a vision of congregations as lifelong learning communities of discipleship for the sake of mission, and of church leadership as enabling this. I think that there is a new, strategic opportunity for collaboration across synods and presbyteries. And I believe that the Assembly could and should be more focussed in how its work helps congregations through all of the above. I am also a resourcing junkie, so I hope to help shape how the church can resource congregations well in our changing media world. Hopefully I am finally at the stage when I've realised that I can't save the church by myself (hoping...), so it has to be about recognising, building and learning from the gifts and capacities that exist across the church.
Here is the position description if you're interested. I'm partly putting it out there because the Assembly is often a mystery for people.
- To offer leadership in providing a cohesive vision of Christian education and faith formation for the Assembly and for the church nationally.
- To provide leadership in actively fostering national collaboration to support the development of effective Christian education and faith formation in congregations as lifelong learning communities mindful of the cultural and linguistic diversity of the Church.
- Promoting Christian education in the church as a distinctive ministry yet also integral to worship, teaching, doctrine, formation, community life and mission.
- To provide leadership in identifying and encouraging the development of resources including leadership development that will encourage congregations to be life-long learning communities.
- To give management oversight to the work of the National Faith Development Consultant,(Youth and Young Adults) including but not limited to the auspicing of the National Christian Youth Convention (NCYC) and the About FACE (Faith and Cultural Exchange) program.
- To provide specialist knowledge for a Christian education approach within Uniting Faith and Discipleship in regards to the Mandate and the Terms of Reference of the Formation, Education and Discipleship Unit and Working Group.
- To be mutually accountable within the Uniting Faith and Discipleship team in fulfilling the mission and mandate of Uniting Faith and Discipleship.
- To provide leadership with the Formation, Education and Discipleship Working Group for a Christian education approach in which Assembly programs, projects and resources assist congregations to be life-long learning Communities.
- To provide leadership with the Formation, Education and Discipleship Working Group in researching the theory and practice of Christian education in Australia and overseas and communicating the findings appropriately.
- With the Formation, Education and Discipleship Working Group provide a national reference point for religious education in schools, Uniting Church schools policy, state school chaplaincy and tertiary Chaplaincy
- To provide Christian education and faith formation perspectives in the areas of lay specified ministries and lay ministries to the Education for Ministry Working Group.
- To share in representing the overall life and mission of the church to all sectors of the church.
- To advise the President and General Secretary on educational issues of national significance.
Formation, Education and Discipleship Working Group.
Uniting Faith and Discipleship Staff Team.
National Directors meetings.
Education for Ministry Working Group.
National Mission and Evangelism Network.
National Lay leaders Network.
Working Group on Doctrine as necessary.
Working Group on Worship as necessary.
National Schools Consultative Group as necessary.
Assembly Office monthly staff meetings.
I will value your prayers and support in this.