Regulation 188.8.131.52 requires that the Assembly Standing Committee provide advice to the Church on the challenges and issues which may be faced by the President and the Assembly in the next seven years. This is to assist the discernment process as the Church nominates and elects the President – elect.
In July 2014 the ASC addressed itself to this responsibility and offers this guidance to the Church.
“As the Uniting Church continues to move through a season of significant change, the ASC believes that the challenges and issues likely to be faced by the President and the Assembly in the next seven years will include:
• Embracing a fuller participation in Christ’s mission in the world; and finding fresh words and deeds to bear witness to the gospel
• Achieving or recovering a common vision of the nature, function and ordering of the Church
• Deepening the Covenant between the Assembly and the UAICC
• Living faith and life cross-culturally in an increasingly multicultural church and society
• Developing new habits and new models of national cooperation
• Rethinking the place of the church in a secular, multi-faith Australian society
• Developing structures and patterns of church life that are financially sustainable
• Seeking structures and patterns of church leadership in all areas (in local churches, the church’s councils, the church’s agencies) that are coherent and sustainable
• Attending to the issues of morale and care for one another that arise in a period of significant change”
Nominated by: Rev Dr Apwee ting and Rev Thresi Mauboy
Synod of residence: Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
Age range: 60-69
Jason likes music a lot, singing and playing guitar. He also enjoys doing community radio announcer and have been doing this for the last twelve years. He and his team give 5 hours for a community radio every week. He likes reading books about community building and relationships. Travelling is his personal interest as well. Jason plays tennis whenever he can.
He also enjoys being with his family and watching them grow and have their own families. Being with his grandchildren is his top of the chart!
Sitting on a beach as a place to be and reflect on God’s creativity where the sea touches the land (rock) or the sand! He experienced an amazing feeling.
Placement / employment:
Minister at Manningham Uniting Church in Melbourne
Relevant church experience:
Member of the Assembly Standing Committee for the last 4 trienniums. Former Moderator Synod of Victoria and Tasmania 2006-2009. Chairperson of the Tongan National Conference. President of the Victorian Council of Churches 2008-2010. Member of the Assembly Multicultural Crosscultural National Reference Committee. Former Chairperson of the VicTas Synod Commission for Mission. Member of the Synod VicTas Placement Committee. Member of the Board of the Centre of Theology for Ministry in Melbourne. Chaired the former Bourke Presbytery before merging with two other Presbyteries to form Yarra Yarra, in VicTas Synod.
(i) I am passionate about inclusivity and being able to build bridges and relationships as an act of being a disciple of Jesus Christ. The call to live out Jesus’ compassion and love to all people is in the heart of the gospel. It is the ways of Jesus in his preaching, teaching as well as living out his life which peaked at the Cross/Resurrection, a sign of what he stood for in reconciliation and forgiveness. There is no end to loving one another and mending relationships in our everyday living. The message of resurrection and new life means to me that there is potential for new beginnings and renewed relationships when we are serious about following Jesus’ ways of compassion and inclusivity.
(ii) I am also passionate about justice for all people, in particular the marginalised in the community and society as our responses to our worship activities and Christian witness. There is the prophetic voice of the Church that needs to speak out against injustices in society, communities and also in our own Uniting Church. The first step is to name and recognise what the injustices are and who are the marginalised in our society and communities. And being informed by the Scriptures, the Christian teaching and faith, how can we participate in the actions of formation so that transformation may happen and justice is done. I recognise it is a difficult and a long process but my commitment to justice for the marginalised is paramount. The Indigenous and First People of this land are still marginalised in many ways; the ways we treat and perceive Asylum Seekers and Refugees as well as strangers who come to our shores still need addressing and our actions and commitment.
(iii) Now that we, as members of the Uniting Church, have acknowledged in the Preamble of our Constitution the definition of the First People as the indigenous people of this land and the Second People as the rest of us who came later, I am passionate about living this out in the reality of a multicultural, cross cultural and inter-cultural Church. It requires not only imagination but a strong desire to live out the Covenanting between the First People and the Second People of this wonderful country Australia. The issues are complex but in acknowledging that those of us who migrated here have a commitment to covenanting with the Indigenous People to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ together with a deep respect to their tradition, culture and affinity with the land. The multicultural, cross cultural and inter cultural nature of our Uniting Church can only be richer, authentic and strong in our participation in the mission of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ when we live our this relationship in full.
Vision for the UCA (400 words):
The Vision of the Uniting Church in Australia is already set out in the Basis of Union. The Basis of Union in the opening paragraph sets out our context that the coming together of three former denominations to form the Uniting Church is just the beginning of a journey that commits us to go forward together in sole loyalty to Christ the living Head of the Church. We are to remain open to constant reform under God’s Word and seek a wider unity in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The eighteen paragraphs unpack the big vision of how we can continue to be the Uniting Church in God’s world which is now becoming a huge “global village”. This global village is full of the challenges and the opportunities of diversity and pluralism. To seek the richness of diversity as gifts rather than threats, we need to have the confidence that God is already in the world and working through people that may be different from us. Discernment is the tool we use to help us in our engagements but it has to go with an element of taking risks and not be affected or influenced by the “fear” that often present as discouraging voices.
My personal vision is to participate in God’s vision and mission for the world which is already happening and enhanced by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. It is to remind us, the followers and disciples of Jesus Christ that our engagements and participations in God’s mission is a risk taking affair but we should not forget that God is present with us. The victory of the resurrection helps to remind us that goodness is stronger than evil; that compassion is stronger that hatred; that light is stronger than darkness.
What this means in reality and practice is sustainability. How can we sustain our present forms of worship, mission and witness in the world where the Church is no longer in the middle but is at the margin of society? In my opinion, the answer is to do a reality check! Look closely at what we have got as far as resources are concerned, both human and material resources, and with prayer and commitment, let’s do something about them! What can we continue to do now and what we must leave behind? We are looking for a new way of being the People of God in this diverse and pluralistic “global village”.
It is not all bad and discouraging news! We have a Uniting Church that continues to be at worship, at mission, prophetic, inclusive and accept people of different cultures. We have a commitment to covenanting with the Indigenous First People of Australia and working with the Congress; we are celebrating the thirty years of the declaration of the UCA as a Multicultural Church and these diverse communities are growing; we are addressing property issues we are facing; we are addressing the change of regulations to make sense to where we are now; we are strong in social justice issues and be bold to be in the public arena about them; we recognise the value of life in all ages and genders.
Let us be bold and continue in the Pilgrim People’s journey, for God’s Kingdom is bigger than the Uniting Church and we can form alliances with other Christians of other cultures and theological persuasions and perspectives. Indeed we can form partnerships with people of other Faiths, even with people of no faith, to make this world and God’s creation a witness to God our Creator, our Redeemer and Sustainer.