eNews – August 2015

Monday, August 10, 2015

Leadership with integrity, influenced by the Spirit
By Rev Dr Jennifer Byrnes

Like many others, I have returned from the Assembly meeting – challenged, inspired, reflective.

The matter of leadership is never far away from the surface as we discern ways forward through many issues. The biggest challenge in our polity as the Uniting Church is the sitting within the consensus decision-making process. The exercise of deep listening – and respecting that the Spirit may indeed be speaking through someone whose opinions I don’t easily agree with – is a challenge of patience, humility and, yes, at some points, surrender!

It continues to beg the question “What is effective leadership?” Is it that I influence others to come around to my way of seeing the world? Or perhaps that the dominant discourse wins. We know, of course, that the UCA is not a democracy but rather a theocracy.

Sitting within conflictual or diverse contexts and opinions and not pushing through with what I think or believe takes a specific form of leadership.
The Living Leadership program at the Centre for Theology & Ministry is seeking to equip leaders for these many contexts in which we live.

St Ignatius refers to it as Indifferent Leadership – a leadership that is not invested in the outcome but rather the integrity of our Spirit-influenced processes.
A strong cohort of leaders has already participated in the Leadership Intensives offered by the Centre for Theology & Ministry. On 4 September there is a one-day workshop to continue to strengthen skills for leadership in these challenging contexts.

The details of the opportunities to participate in leadership development are found on this, the Centre’s recently revamped website.

Importantly, on the site you can also register for Wisdom’s Feast: Eureka Moments, in Ballarat on 14 and 15 August. This year’s Wisdom’s Feast is a partnership between the Centre, the Presbytery of Western Victoria and the congregations of Ballarat. It is an important annual event that illustrates our commitment to the Web of Learning philosophy – which is our commitment to servicing the Uniting Church community across the Synod.

So whether you’re looking to register for an event, seeking educational resourcing or would like to pursue your mission with our support please visit the Centre for Theology & Ministry, which is dedicated to resourcing our community.


Living Leadership; take up the opportunity to inspire and learn 

Are you a leader within the Uniting Church? Does your role require managing competing interests, conflict or a diversity of viewpoints? If you answered yes to the first question you invariably answered yes to the second.

Our church’s consensus decision-making process requires leaders to engage in an important exercise of deep listening and a respectful, Spirit-influenced leadership model, which the Centre’s director Jenny Byrnes identified above is a “challenge of patience, humility and, yes, at some points, surrender!”

As Jenny also identified, the UCA is not a democracy but rather a theocracy. The Centre for Theology & Ministry’s Living Leadership educational resourcing area’s programs reflect – and importantly respect – the UCA’s leadership model so they are perfect for your needs as a leader in our church.

We invite you to register for the following Living leadership opportunities:

Living Leadership 2015 Masterclass: DiSC, Leadership, Crisis and Change

A one-day workshop offering participants the opportunity to renew and develop their understanding of leadership in the context of crisis and change viewed through the lens of DiSC. Please note though that this workshop is only open to those who have previously attended a Living Leadership intensive.

What: Living Leadership 2015 Masterclass: DiSC, Leadership, Crisis and Change
Date: Friday, 4 September 2015
Time: 10am-4pm
Cost: $40
Eligibility: Only available to those participants who have previously attended a Living Leadership intensive
More information: Click here to find out more here
Registrations close: Friday, 28 August 2015

A tale of two Davids

This week the Centre for Theology & Ministry farewells Property and Maintenance Officer, David Harris, who is off to the beautiful western Victorian town of Pomonal in the foothills of the Grampians. David and family are taking over the running over an accommodation facility focused on servicing the group market and we’re sure David will run fantastically maintained, friendly accommodation.

We welcome our new Property and Maintenance Officer, David Tomà. This is a key role in the Centre’s administration team and David is experienced in building maintenance, administration and project management.  He has worked for Yarra Community Housing starting as a maintenance worker, moving on to maintenance administration, then as Property Maintenance Team Leader and finally Maintenance Administration Team Leader.


Young people and action on forced closure of communities

Last month the 14th National Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia stood as one to oppose the forced closure of remote Aboriginal communities and committed the Uniting Church President to gather other heads of churches to meet with the Prime Minister and the premiers of Western Australia and South Australia to make known their opposition to forced closure of the communities.

Youth Education Discipleship Co-ordinator Adrian Greenwood said the symbolic action of solidarity was initiated by the heartfelt plea of the younger members of assembly who felt that we must respond to the potential closures. The entire Assembly meeting including President Stuart McMillan, Nyungar elder Rev. Sealin Garlett and Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress Chairperson Rev Dennis Corowa moved outside the hall to signal as one their solidarity with indigenous people in threat of being forced off their land by Federal and State Government policies.

Adrian has compiled a huge range of resources on the topic, which include actions for congregations and individuals. Visit the More Praxis site for further background and the topic and to download the resources.

David Tòma is committed to social justice, inclusion and values integrity and we’re sure he’ll continue David Harris’s legacy in maintaining an excellent building that is perfectly suited to servicing the Centre’s community of learning.