At 40 years, it is a good time for the Synod of NSW and the ACT to take some time to reflect on where we have come from and who we are called to be. 

It is a good time to take stock and to ensure that we are aligned with the moving of God’s Spirit in the world today. 

It is a good time to dream a new dream for God’s people in the Uniting Church and to move with hope into God’s future.

It is a good time to be reminded of the energy that brought the Congregational, Methodist and Presbyterian Churches into union and to inject new energy into our life together today. 

The Pathways Project is developing processes that will enable us to listen to each other – to help congregations hear the stories of other congregations; to help Presbyteries hear stories of congregations within and beyond their bounds and of other Presbyteries; and to help the Synod hear a more comprehensive story of the church in NSW and the ACT.  From our stories, we will celebrate and build on our strengths, and we will also seek to give shape to ways we can address the challenges that we face together so that we might be well-prepared to embrace the next 40 years!

The Pathways Project is an opportunity for everyone to contribute to the shaping of the Uniting Church for the next 40 years.  If you are a leader of a congregation, or if you are someone who has a passion for the gospel and has found a spiritual home in the Uniting Church, this is an opportunity to dream together and to begin to shape ways in which we might work together to share Christ’s story of love in the world.

Project consultants - Rev. Kath Merrifield and Melanie Dicks (Uniting)

Consultation at Quaker's Hill UCA

Zone consultation at Parramatta Nepean Presbytery

The first consultation at Uralla in New England North West Presbytery.

Update for the week July 7, 2017

This week Melanie Dicks have been on the road in New England North West Presbytery (you can follow their travels on the Facebook page).

The Project has also had some useful feedback and we have updated the "Why should I engage the Pathways Project" question accordingly. We have also added a question about what a typical consultation/workshop involves.

Keeping the conversation going is an important part of the project, so please feel free to send us your questions through the feedback form below.

Update from Synod 2017

The Pathways team presented at Synod after many months of hundreds of conversations with members of Congregations across two very different Presbyteries about the life of the church and how it is expressed at the grassroots.

  • Read more about the Pathways report to Synod here
  • Read the report in full here
  • Watch the Telling Our Story video here

The General Secretary initiated the Pathways Project, which was then approved by Synod Standing Committee. The project would like to discover the ways in which each of the Councils of the Uniting Church within the Synod bounds can best lead its members in Christ’s mission of the world.

It is a grass roots pilot planning project which explores the way in which we can empower, resource and support the mission of God as it is lived out in Congregations and Presbyteries. Leading on from our 40th anniversary celebrations, and equipped with lessons learnt from the pilot, it will clarify alternative options and recommend a plan for the next decade.  The pilot includes two diverse presbyteries – New England North West (rural) and Parramatta Nepean (urban). The findings of the pilot process will be presented to Synod in October 2017. It is hoped the project outcome will receive support and be rolled out to all Presbyteries.

  1. To develop bespoke grass roots Congregation and Presbytery (interrelated Councils) planning processes enabling the emergence of local missional and societal opportunities.
  2. To develop alternative options for how best to utilise the Church’s gifts, skills and resources, in order to build one another up in love and to serve the world.
  3. To create a framework and a 10 year map (operational plan) for how the whole of Synod will work together to empower and encourage the mission of God in its Congregations, Presbyteries and Services.

The project is staffed by Rev Kath Merrifield (on secondment from Uniting Mission and Education), Ms Melanie Dicks (Uniting) and Ms Katie Fisher (Uniting). The team is meeting with each of the Presbyteries in the pilot and with congregational leaders and members of congregations within their bounds.

It’s time to take stock and talk about who and what we are called to be as a Church.  The Pathways Project presents individuals with an opportunity to speak into the life and witness of the Church and enables us to hear a more comprehensive story of the Church in NSW and the ACT. From our stories we learn from each other, we also build on our strengths and experience  the hope we have in Christ.

We would really appreciate your time. This is an exciting opportunity for you to contribute to and explore the future opportunities of how we live out the Church’s mission. God has called for us to continually seek renewal of our life as a community. In our 40 year celebration, let’s take time to review our history and map our future. The Pathways project will enable us to listen to each other and to help the Synod hear a more comprehensive story of the church in NSW and the ACT.  We will celebrate and build on our strengths, and also give shape to ways we can address the challenges that we face together so we are well-prepared to embrace the future of the Church.

We understand your concern about asking people to give up precious time to participate.  We are very conscious that there have been many attempts, and that the Church has done lots of talking.  However, we are committed to working through a process that delivers opportunities that will take the UCA in NSW/ACT into God’s future.  To do that, we need the support and engagement of Congregations and Presbyteries.  We need each other in order to fulfil the purposes to which God calls us and part of this process is to help us learn how to listen to each other, how to hear one another, and then how to discern together how we follow the prompting of God’s Spirit together.

Right now! Pathways is working with the pilot presbyteries (New England North West and Parramatta Nepean) until September, in preparation for the Synod meeting which is held in October 2017.

We are currently working with the pilot Presbyteries. It is hoped a successful meeting in October will result in the rollout to all other Presbyteries. Until then we will keep you updated via the Synod newsletter and Facebook.

Yes.  Once the process has been agreed by the Synod meeting, UAICC will be a part of the conversation.

Absolutely. Your ideas are welcome, if you would like to contribute please contact Rev. Kath Merrifield (0409 650 118 or, Melanie Dicks (0407 009 051 or

The workshops are run using table group discussions to enable people to engage with the questions and with each other.  Feedback is recorded and then collates with the feedback from all the workshops across the Presbytery. The workshops invite us to explore who and how we are church together.  In these first workshops, we are particularly inviting people to share their hopes and dreams for God’s church.