Seeds of Growth Update
Seeds of Growth is often misunderstood and presumed to be a program where congregations, presbyteries and other church entities contribute to specific projects that are managed by Synod, in a manner similar to the way the prior Living is Giving program was promoted across the Church.
As was included in the Focus on Growth Proposal, approved at the recently held meeting of the Synod:
Davis McCaughey, in his commentary on our Basis of Union, within the section on Paragraph 15 on our inter-related councils wrote that “the Synod is constituted by people competent to fulfil the primary responsibility of the Church in building up the Congregations of Christ’s people in faith hope and love, and in strengthening the Presbyteries in their task of oversight.”
Regarding Presbyteries, he wrote that they “must know the congregations and love them, must see that they are fed by the Word and nourished by the Sacraments, built up through pastoral care.”
The images McCaughey evokes serve to remind us of our purpose when we gather in Synod or Presbytery councils, and that is to orient our life and work together towards enabling flourishing within and through our Congregations. Another way to say this might be that the Synod exists to assist in growing healthy congregations, develop vital leadership and see transformative community engagement across the life of the Uniting Church in NSW and the ACT.
To be able to fulfil this role our Synod and Presbyteries play our truest part in the mission of God by orienting our activities towards serving those local communities of discipleship and formation where people of all ages grow into their proclamation and participation in God’s reconciliation and renewal of all things through Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17-20).
Reorienting our focus
Seeds of Growth contributions are a part of the funding that allows the Synod to operate and meet its responsibilities to enable and support Presbyteries, Congregations and contribute to the funding of the Assembly.
The funding for Synod allows it orient and focus its work towards enabling and supporting church agencies and presbyteries to ensure:
- local communities have access to resources, training, support and leadership that grow healthy and effective practices of discipleship,
- local communities are encouraged, supported and equipped for relationships with partners beyond their congregations in ways that enhance their worship, witness and service,
- support for congregations to plan for, enact and measure the impact of their contributions in witness and service in their local and wider communities, and
- that growth in belief, relationship, impact and numbers is a natural outworking of God’s work in and through us in the world.
Your generosity helps us help you
Practically, the money contributed through Seeds of Growth is a component of the income that supports all the activities undertaken by Synod team, which includes but is not limited to:
- The Ministry of the Moderator, the General Secretary and a number of other key leadership roles in the wider church,
- Administration and oversight of the Church and it’s Pastors, Ministers and Deacons in ministry practice and Placements,
- Uniting Mission and Education Team who support presbyteries and congregations teaching and consulting to grow the future church,
- United Theological College educating leaders including future Pastors, Ministers & Deacons,
- Uniting Resources supporting presbyteries and congregations with employment, payroll, financial management, property management, risk, legal and insurance services,
- Managing the churches media profile through internal communication, social media, news and media broadcasts, etc.,
- “Safe Church” Training and Administration,
- Implementing proposals that approved at Synod or by the Synod Standing Committee such as Saltbush, Pulse, Focus on Growth, a Renewed Vision for Formation, Synod Climate Action Strategy, and
- Many more aspects of the wider Church’s life to mention here…
An overview of the Synod Offices financials were included as an attachment to the Synod Standing Committee Report to the July Synod meeting and are attached for your interest.
Thank you to everyone within the congregations across the church who contribute to the work of both the Presbyteries and Synod. I, like you all, offer prayers for many things including changed hearts, bolder vision, justice for all (especially for those more marginalised) and unity.
I pray that as you receive this message, you join me in a prayer for greater courage and the hope to recognise we are a people who trust God to help us overcome cynicism and fear of scarcity and to work out of a spirit of grace and generosity.
Albert Olley, COO, Uniting Resources