Synod’s new governance committees have set themselves a mission to provide the support and advice that will allow the church to take a positive approach and “journey into new frontiers”.
The newly formed Mission and Ministry Committee and the Property and Operations Committee have already met twice this year, plus there has been an orientation session for three new subcommittees – Finance, Audit and Risk Management.
Rev Stan Clarke is the chair of the Property and Operations Committee and believes the new governance structure will provide a wider range of expertise to support the church’s decision-making.
“Previously we had one governance committee – Synod Standing Committee – which is a fully elected body so you cannot guarantee that you get the full mix of skills to cover off the range of activities the church has to address,” he said.
“The two new committees have several Standing Committee members who can report directly back to their colleagues, plus we’ve been able to appoint people from across the church who bring the particular professional gifts and skills we seek.”
Mr Clarke said the new committees will act to strengthen the Standing Committee.
“The Standing Committee can really get its teeth around the strategic overview now and become more positive and forward-looking rather than simply reactive,” he said.
Rev Graeme Harrison, chair of the new Ministry and Mission Committee, agrees.
“The new committees can focus on the detail and that should create more space for the Standing Committee to dream and to ask the big questions like what are the key issues for the 21st century church in relating to the community,” Mr Harrison said.
“We can help Standing Committee to be proactive about bringing positive change to the church according to the strategies the church has agreed to, and being intentional and prayerful about it.”
Mr Harrison said the Ministry and Mission Committee has experienced and new voices that are drawn from a range of perspectives including rural, congregational, presbytery, justice, new and renewing ministry, theology, and intercultural.
“We have the energy and freshness to bring different ideas but also enough friction to generate a few sparks,” he said.
“I think groups work better when they’re not all thinking the same way.”
Rev Dr Sunny Chen is serving on the Ministry and Mission Committee and said he is already enjoying the new challenges. “This is a good way forward,” he said.
“We have an opportunity to carry out a sharper missional focus of church that can help to facilitate our many diverse communities.”
Dr Chen said that people have moved on from seeing church as the centre of community and society and he hoped that the new committees would help the church “journey into new frontiers.”