Statements of Intent – sparking helpful conversation

statements of intentTogether with other key components of the Synod’s Strategic Framework, the 10 Statements of Intent seek to spark helpful conversations within our gathered communities – conversations focused on our community life as participants in the mission of God.

Our new Synod Standing Committee has begun to weave these Statements into their conversations.

At the request of our moderator, Rev Sharon Hollis, a set of 10 postcards have been developed for regular use by the Standing Committee. Each postcard highlights a particular Statement of Intent. The cards are prompts to view the tasks before the Committee in the light of the various Statements. The Statements respond to issues discerned across the life of the Church and have been developed as a positive way forward. The conversations generated by the cards will inform decisions to strengthen our life and witness.

The Standing Committee can use the cards in a variety of ways. Sometimes it may be appropriate to draw the Committee’s attention to one card that seems particularly relevant. At other times, cards may be randomly allocated to table groups that ask questions of the Committee’s current thinking, provoking fresh insights and encouraging other voices to be heard.

For example, in their initial gathering last month as a new Committee, table groups were given the full set of 10 cards and asked: “Which Statement do you feel is the most important one for this Committee at this time? Which is the most challenging?” A range of responses generated a different sort of conversation, with members offering their reasoning and listening to one another.

Congregations are also finding the Statements of Intent helpful in their missional conversations.

During one of the breaks at the September Synod meeting, a ministry leader from Launceston told me how much the resource booklet Supporting Information on the Statements of Intent had helped their local conversations.

They spoke with enthusiasm about how they had used the resource:

Our Uniting Churches in [our area] have used the Statements of Intent supporting documentation in a variety of ways over the last two months.

During worship over a series of weeks, we have explored each of the Statements using the scripture provided and our context to offer depth to the conversation as to where we as a church might be headed. I created a PowerPoint to assist the discussion. It has been used in worship in broader brush strokes in [other neighbouring congregations].

It has been used as the foundational document for exploring our vision and mission both in individual congregations but also collaboratively as we seek to discern the will of God for the Uniting Church in [our area] as a whole community.

The Statements of Intent do not collectively offer a formula to apply. They are a means of provoking a discerning conversation; an aid for finding ways forward that ‘smooth the path of faithful pilgrimage’ (refer to resource booklet, page 4-5). The Statements are not about simplistic answers; they are about provoking life-giving questions and the conversations that flow from them.

Like the Launceston congregations’ experiences, I hope that the 10 Statements of Intent can aid your local discernments in mission. I pray that, under the Spirit’s guiding presence, this conversational tool assists in strengthening and enriching your life and witness as a gathered community of God’s people.

David Withers

Strategic Framework Minister

Copies of Framework resources are

available online at:

Or they can be requested from the Strategic Review Implementation Team office by emailing

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