The next moderator of the Vic/Tas synod will be decided at the Synod meeting in September. Members will discern between three nominees – Rev Ian Brown, Rev Dr Sunny Chen and Rev Sharon Hollis. Convenor of the nominating committee Rev Alistair Macrae said all three would bring to the role unique qualities and strengths.
“We are confident we present three candidates of exceptional gifts and graces, well equipped, with God’s help, to take on the responsibilities of this role,” Mr Macrae said.
The six members of the nominating committee received a total of eight nominations from throughout the synod and reserved its right to generate a further two nominations. From the original list of 10, three declined nomination. The committee then entered into a process of discernment with the remaining seven nominees.
Mr Macrae said committee members were guided by the regulations of the Uniting Church and reflections of past nominating committees.
“After applying our matrix of gifts, experience and skills, we short-listed five nominees for interview,” Mr Macrae said. “The committee was energised and encouraged by these stimulating conversations.”
Mr Macrae feels the final three nominees chosen represent the diversity and strength of leadership within the Church.
Ian Brown came to ministry after a career as a high school teacher. He has held a variety of leadership roles within the church and is currently the chair of the Board of Mission and Resourcing (BOMAR).
“As well as extensive experience in many dimensions of church life, Ian brings a thoughtful listening presence to his interactions and a careful and measured response in complex situations,” Mr Macrae said.
Born in Hong Kong, Sunny Chen arrived in Australia in 1998 after completing a Masters in Theology in the USA. He is currently in placement as chaplain at Melbourne University. Mr Chen has been very involved with the cross-cultural community of the church, and has a particularly passion for youth work.
“Sunny regards his ministry as a call to build bridges between people through careful listening,” Mr Macrae said. “He is consultative in style and brings a humble, reflective presence.”
Sharon Hollis is described as having a commitment to promoting life-long learning. As well a degree in theology, Ms Hollis holds a post-graduate diploma of vocational education and is completing a Masters of Educational Leadership at ACU. She is the continuing education coordinator at CTM and has served on a number of synod committees.
Ms Hollis is currently on secondment as co-coordinator of the synod’s group response to Uniting our future.
Mr Macrae said the committee were impressed with Ms Hollis’ energy and love of the church.
“Sharon has a wide breadth of experience across the church and offers a keen theological reflectiveness, an incisive intelligence and a love of the Uniting Church’s theological and worship heritage.”