56. MINUTE OF APPRECIATION FOR REV DR TONY FLOYD (Multicultural and Cross Cultural Ministry)

That the Assembly

Places on record its deep appreciation for the contribution rendered to the life of the Uniting Church by Rev Dr Tony Floyd during the 8 years in which Tony was the National Director of Multicultural and CrossCultural Ministry (MCCM).

He brought a strong and passionate commitment to the work, not only to the Assembly but to all councils of the church. Tony passionately embodied the gift of grace that the Uniting Church offers to Australia; specifically into the ongoing claims concerning the failure of the experiment of multiculturalism in this country. The heart of Tony’s leadership for the church was his holding up strongly the gift of cultural and linguistic diversity with which God has blessed the Uniting Church. For Tony, the modelling of respectful relationships across cultural divides, and what nurtures life and hope as we live with our neighbour, genuinely matters not only the Uniting Church but for Australia.

During Tony’s time as the National Director, the Uniting Church‟s National Conferences grew and were strengthened. The Chairperson of the Tongan National Conference Rev Jason Kioa said of Tony. We are reminded that the President of the Free Wesleyan Church of Tonga Rev Dr Ahio at a recent meeting of the Tongan National conference (TNC) said: “Tony we do not think of you as a visitor because in your heart you are Tongan.” This was a testament to Tony’s capacity to walk in the shoes of those from another culture.

Tony has guided and mentored many next generation Ministers and Lay Persons from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) backgrounds in their Mission and Ministry in various contexts. He had a strong vision for the next generation of CALD Ministers and Lay Leaders for the Uniting Church. Tony’s capacity to sustain strong and trusting relationships has meant that many complex issues and problems in various councils of the church were able to be dealt with, with wisdom, discernment and in the spirit of community.

Always mindful of what the Uniting Church is called to be, through the commitments that it has made; Tony with the Multicultural and Cross Cultural Reference Committee (MCCM) strengthened and advanced those commitments, during the time he served the Assembly.

During Tony’s ministry the Uniting Church took a further step in our understanding of what it means to be a multicultural church by the statement: “A Church for all God’s People” adopted at the 11th Assembly in 2006. This built on the original statement in 1985 when the Uniting Church declared itself to be a multicultural church. The original statement included the prayer hope: The Uniting Church seeks to be open to changes that the Holy Spirit will bring to the church because of the creative contributions of people of different racial and cultural groups to its life. The statement adopted in 2006 strengthened that hope.

The statement ‘One body Many Members: Living Faith and Life Cross Culturally adopted by the 13th Assembly in 2012 called on all councils of the church to live out their life and faith cross culturally and to develop benchmarks that can shape the whole life of the Uniting Church now and into the future. This statement developed with the Multicultural and CrossCultural Reference Committee (MCCM) further strengthened and embedded the original prayer hope of cross cultural life in the Uniting Church.

At this time Tony has concluded full- time ministry and has retired. We are deeply grateful not only for his leadership, passion and vision but also for Tony’s continuing commitment to cross cultural relationships in the life of the Uniting Church.