Ship shape

Majorie CrothersThe Presbytery of Western Victoria might not be known for its ocean views but the standing committee found a novel nautical way to get everyone on board while charting a new course.

All presbytery members were invited to go on a two-day “cruise” to consider proposed changes and the bigger picture of the presbytery’s future.

“There is so much change, so many demands on small rural congregations whose energies are being sorely strained in survival mode let alone finding the energy and interest in looking at bigger pictures,” secretary of the presbytery Rev Dr Graeme Sutton said.

“We saw that in going away on a cruise we could get away from distractions, explore without needing to carry our baggage, and embark in one port but disembark in a completely different place.

“Naturally however, neither time nor the judicious use of presbytery financial resources permitted this delightful possibility.”

So as a landlocked substitute, The Presbytery Cruise Workshop and Retreat was launched.

It was facilitated by Rev Fran Barber from equipping Leadership for Ministry (eLM) and held in early May at Dunkeld Community Centre on the southern tip of the Grampians.

On the opening day 23 ‘cruisers’ gathered for lunch.

They then broke into small groups armed with appropriate “tour documentation” in the form of table group responses, material from eLM and  detail about proposed changes for the role of presbytery chairperson.

That evening, after enjoying a meal at a local restaurant, cruisers got down to serious work, refining a new scenario for the presbytery.

On the second day, ship “captain” committee chairperson Majorie Crothers called for an early rise to attend breakfast and communion, which helped prepare cruisers for the critical morning follow-up session.

The previous night’s analysis was used to shape a vision for the presbytery’s future.

By consensus a recommendation was crafted to put to the general presbytery meeting for standing committee to start work on office-holder profiles and job descriptions.

The event concluded with a shared lunch and 1pm departure.

“The cruisers disembarked knowing that we had made important progress but knowing there was still work to do,” Dr Sutton said.

“The opportunity is still open for us to cruise again.”

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