The Centre for Theology and Ministry in Parkville was the setting yesterday for a celebration of ministry as five Uniting Church members were commissioned and inducted into new roles within the Synod.
Duncan Macleod was inducted as Executive Officer within equipping Leadership for Mission, as the permanent replacement for former Executive Officer Jenny Byrnes.
“I see the role of eLM Executive Officer as one of collaborative mission-focused servant leadership,” Duncan said.
“I take some of my cues from the work of Robert Greenleaf and Larry Spears who have described servant leadership through the lenses of listening, empathy, stewardship, foresight, persuasion, conceptualisation, awareness, healing, commitment to the growth and development of people, and building community.
“Being commissioned for me indicates that I am sharing this vocation with colleagues, and being inducted for me is a communal expression and affirmation of my ordination vows, being available to serve God in the wider church, with accountability, courage and wonder.”
Lauren Mosso was inducted as the Synod Chaplaincy Co-ordinator.
“While I take up the authority that is being placed in me to carry out this role by renewing promises made at ordination, the church also formally exercises its oversight and we share mutual accountability in the words of the liturgy,” Lauren said.
“Together we prayerfully celebrate the joy of the call and begin to nurture the relationships that this ministry depends on.”
Kelly Skilton was commissioned as Younger Generations—Digital and New Communities Co-ordinator.
“For me, a commissioning is about the whole body appointing an individual, not just a board, JNC or hiring committee,” Kelly said.
“It is when the Church acknowledges that I am stepping into an area of intentional service to help equip the Church for continuing service with the wider community.
“Resourcing and advocating for younger generations in the life of the church is not new, however, a focus on developing new and digital communities is. My hope is that I will be able to facilitate the areas of discipleship, leadership development, faith formation, and encouraging new communities with and by our younger generations.”
Julie Perrin was commissioned as Chaplain at the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
“Being commissioned into a role you are already doing may sound like an afterthought, but to me it is an embodiment of my participation in the life of the wider church,” Julie said.
“I look forward to standing amidst peers and leaders, and being commissioned to the different callings we have responded to.
“It feels important to be in the congregation of this wider gathering, wearing my hospital scrubs, ready to say, ‘yes, I am one of you, and I am part of what the Uniting Church is offering to the world’. Chaplaincy can seem a lone ranger kind of job, but it is so integral to our being church in the world.”
Siobhan O’Shaughnessy was commissioned as Prison Chaplain, Loddon Prison Precinct, Tarrengower Prison, and Dame Phyllis Frost Centre.
“My role as a pastoral care practitioner in hospitals over the last few years has invited me to journey with people who are in a vulnerable situation, offering them a calm and non-judgemental presence as they explore meaning and purpose in life in the face of change,” Siobhan said.
“This has prepared me to accompany people now in the prison system … people whose lives have often been challenging from the outset, who often have little or no support and with many broken connections in their lives. Offering a space for them to share their stories and journey with them as they do the challenging and courageous work of developing deeper self-awareness and consequently self-worth, is a great privilege.”