Welcome to 2016

penny mulveyBy Penny Mulvey

What does 2016 hold for you? Are you looking forward to discovering new authors? Being challenged by new ideas? Perhaps engaging with your local politician around issues of national or local importance? Do you have a trip planned or special anniversary to celebrate?

Perhaps 2016 doesn’t feel like anything much at all. Your life is hard. Health is marginal. Family relationships are fraught and even the simple tasks seem to be more and more arduous.

What about your congregation? Does you faith community gather in prayer regularly? Are you excited by the new insights you receive as you share God’s word? What missional activities are you pouring your energies into for this new season?

The Synod of VicTas is undergoing change this year. The much-talked about Major Strategic Review will present its final recommendations to presbyteries and the Synod Standing Committee (SSC) over the next few months. These recommendations are likely to be a major topic for debate at the June Synod meeting at the Box Hill Town Hall.

There is also change afoot for UnitingCare agencies. A project control group has been considering the resolution of the SSC to bring the 25 UnitingCare agencies in Victoria and Tasmania under one single board of governance.

Australia goes to the polls for a federal election again this year. Topics such as the economy, our response to asylum seekers, marriage equality and climate change are likely to dominate public engagement.

Over this Christmas holiday period there have been significant issues aired in the media: euthanasia; corruption in sport; ongoing violence against women and the one-punch-kills campaign; international responses to Islamic State; extreme weather.

Statistics demonstrate we are failing the First Peoples of this nation. We hear daily horror stories in relation to refugees in mandatory detention. Mental health issues are eroding family life. Where do we turn? To what do we give our attention?

In this age of information overload, it is little wonder we become overwhelmed. How do we look to a new year, which inevitably will bring change?

The moderator writes in his monthly column that he finds answers when he finally becomes still. “Only then is it possible to be open to God’s mercy and, in turn, trust entirely upon God’s grace.”

To be still, to be open, to trust entirely…how can I let go of all I see and hear and surrender to the stillness that is in Christ Jesus? May we all, each day, rest in God’s grace.

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