What Synod means to me

Rev Deacon Peter Batten

Synod is an opportunity for the whole church to come together and discuss important issues of faith, mission, ministry and governance, and to recognise that although times are tough God has not left the church. Through the Bible studies, the daily gatherings, and opening and closing worships we come together as a people of faith to deeply listen to each other, especially the more marginalised groups in the church, to sing and to dance (should be more dancing) and to celebrate our life together. My hope for Synod 2023 is that we as the gathered church can acknowledge our grief at what the church has been, listen to each other and discuss what the Spirt of God is calling us into as we face the uncertainty of the future together. I think these are critical times for our Uniting Church, and in our tears and laughter we can open our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits to allow a freshness to feed us.

Rev Deacon Marian Bissett

I have been to two in-person Synods and one online Synod at which I was on the facilitation group. All three have been wonderful experiences and all three have been really different. I enjoy seeing the wider church work through business, and some complex and some straightforward matters, as well as looking at itself and having conversations around what the future of the UCA might look like. Apart from the work of mission and business, Synod is also an opportunity to connect with colleagues and friends, and to make new connections and share stories of life in the UCA and what that looks like in our own communities.

Jessica Hateley-Browne

I always leave the Synod meetings with a refreshed commitment to the Uniting Church as a Christian community. We gather, we worship, we meet new pilgrims and deepen connections with pilgrims already known to us. We get out of our own backyard and together we tend to the community garden. There are moments of frustration, and moments of low energy as I engage with the issues before the Synod. Yet, I have my mind changed, my spirit touched, and my understanding of our church expanded. I come away from the meeting optimistic and eager to keep participating in what God is doing in the world alongside my Uniting Church siblings.

Rev Michele Lees

To me the Synod meeting is about community and becoming better informed on what is happening across the Uniting Church in Victoria and Tasmania. My visual memories of past meetings are smiling faces greeting each other after a long time apart and sharing a hug when appropriate. But Synod also has its serious side. To really know what is going on in our Synod there is much preparatory reading. As we gather on matters that affect the Church, we rely upon the Holy Spirit to guide our thinking through a consensus model of decision making.

Rev Viola Leung

Synod is the heartbeat of every faith-filled, Spirit-dependent, God-centred, Christ-satisfied local church. This is where our primary energies should be directed. This is what we should expect from a healthy church, whether gathered or scattered. While there are many things the Synod could do, what it must do is continue to support the local churches to faithfully proclaim the gospel and help the Church walk together, united with one another as God’s new humanity in Jesus.

Rev Deacon Andrea Mayes

Synod is a time where we come together as a community to make important decisions. We learn to appreciate the diversity of our church as we listen carefully to each area and many different opinions. I always learn something useful, make new friends and deepen existing relationships. I think the most important thing about Synod for me is that it represents everyone. There are people of all ages and genders who attend. There are people who are new to the Uniting Church as well as people who have been in the Uniting Church all their lives. This means it is representative.

Rev Fiona Morrison

I love coming to Synod, connecting with old friends and colleagues and meeting new ones. I am passionate about how we make decisions in the UCA. While it may take a long time, there is a real feeling of empowerment for all people to have a say, and for us all to listen to the Spirit of God moving within and between us as we discern together where God is calling us as a church into the future. I find our Bible studies and worship a real time of challenge, and enjoy hearing about new concepts and old ones which re-engage us with God moving throughout our scriptures and throughout history and still engaging with us now, calling us always onwards in a journey of discipleship.

Rev Amanda Nicholas

Synod for me is a place where the people of God can gather to be heard. To listen to the Spirit, to listen to one another, to listen to the wider world and then to actively move as one body to participate in the mission of God in the world. To listen, to love and to be sent out to shine light into the world that is so rocked by darkness and despair. A world that day by day groans under the weight of life. A world that needs to feel the warmth of light, love and life. A world that needs to feel that little touch of the divine that each of us imparts in our community.

Rev Rod Peppiatt

The Synod meeting, for me, is about the opportunity to participate in the life of the UCA beyond the local setting (in my case, congregational ministry). It’s a chance to look and listen for the signs of the Holy Spirit in church and community, and to engage with others on the same path. The consensus decision-making style of these meetings encourages us to work hard and carefully together, listening to each other in faithful discernment. Large church meetings can be an introvert’s nightmare, but I nearly always find that the spiritual enrichment is worth the price.

Rev Gospel Ralte

 Synod, for me, is a gathering of God’s servant-disciples of all missional works of services who, with their own consent supported by the responsible council, come to share the joy of witnessing the love of the resurrected Lord, and in following Him, to strive together to meet the challenges facing the churches today in a constructive way. In Synod, I meet new friends, learn new things, and share the joy of serving the Lord with others.  I also experience the power of calmness, equality, stability and oneness through the ways the needed resolutions are peacefully made in consensus.

Barbara Shying

The experience of Synod is inspirational and often leads me to new ways of thinking. Devotions, Bible study and keynote speakers often challenge me. The opportunity to meet new people from urban, rural and interstate spaces is very special. To see consensus in action, where opinions can be freely given within strict guidelines, is a lesson in democracy. Coloured cards express people’s responses to questions and ideas. I feel privileged to hear summaries of the proceedings at the end of each day which are thoughtful and insightful.


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