Friday, June 22, 2012

big day, big night

“Take care and tread gently and carefully” – words this week from my supervisor.

Today – tonight actually – I’m commissioned as Principal of Uniting College, at the opening gathering of the Presbytery and Synod of South Australia. I start officially on 1 July and tonight marks the time when the church sets me aside for this role. I will be asked to reaffirm my faith in Jesus and to commit myself anew to the mission of the church. In turn, the church will be asked to commit itself to prayerful support. It feels significant personally.

Today is also the 35th anniversary of the formation of the Uniting Church. A coincidence I’m sure! But it does provide a way to reflect on a question I’m often asked – how I, as a Baptist from New Zealand, end up leading a Uniting Church College.

It’s a great question, one that was explored fairly thoroughly in my interview processes, both in first coming to the College as Director of Missiology in 2010, and then as Principal.

In the interviews, from my perspective, I reflected on the man from Macedonia, in Acts 16:9, who invites Paul to come on over, to work amongst them in mission. It was my sense that God might be calling me also to “come on over the ditch”, to work in mission. For Paul and for the Macedonians, this was going to mean a journey of working out how to do that in a way that might honour the past, yet fully serve the present, as part of embracing God’s good future. So also for me, it felt like a call to serve, for a period of time to journey among a different culture and group.

From the Uniting church end, I wonder if their perspective might best be captured in the video below, produced to celebrate today, June 22nd, the 35th anniversary of the Uniting church

For Alistair McRae – “Lets demonstrate in the life of the church what God intends for the whole world.” For Ken Sumner – “I think that’s the mission of the church, to bring about reconciliation.”

What a wonderful ethos to celebrate.

So I can’t speak for the Uniting Church, but perhaps tonight, in some small way in my commissioning, there is again that affirmation of hospitality and inclusiveness, these Uniting values of reconciliation in mission, so central to the formation of the Uniting Church and it’s ongoing vision and values.

Posted by steve at 10:51 AM

1 Comment

  1. Be blessed on this day Steve as you enter this new role, and may you continue to be a blessing to all

    Comment by Geoff — June 22, 2012 @ 6:22 pm

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