D2 – President-elect Profile – Karyn Burchell-Thomas

Regulation 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”

Rev_Karyn_Burchell-ThomasName: Karyn Burchell-Thomas (Rev.)

Nominated by: Synod of N.S.W and the A.C.T.

Synod of residence: Synod of N.S.W. and the A.C.T.

Age range: At the time of Assembly, 60.

Married to Rev. Gareth Thomas-Burchell, Karyn lives at Dubbo.
Karyn’s brothers and their families live in the Blue Mountains.
Karyn is a person of strong Christian faith, with a sound understanding and deep commitment to The Uniting Church believing it has a unique calling to be a truly Australian Christian presence in Australia as the challenges and changes of the 21st century are faced.

She is energetic, positive and an encourager. She is able to see
the big picture and think and work strategically, attending to the
details. She is able to make decisions and follow them through.

Karyn brings to her work a professionalism in how she capably leads and connects with people from many walks of life and many cultures. She is strong in pastoral ministry and readily relates across a number of age groups. She is a good team worker and competent leader. Karyn holds a wisdom in how she addresses issues and a creativeness in developing and following processes. She has worked with the media: press, radio and TV.

Family, reading, hospitality, cooking, gardening, theatre, travel, sewing.

Placement / employment:
Karyn is the Presbytery Resource Minister for the Macquarie Darling
Presbytery in the Synod of NSW and the ACT. In this role she trains individuals and equips Congregations and leaders. She holds a Bachelor of Theology, an Associate Diploma in Adult Education, a Certificate in Secretarial Studies and has tertiary qualifications in Public Administration as well as undertaking other varied, minor, helpful studies.

Prior to ordination Karyn was Regional Staff Development Officer heading up training for 850 staff in the South-Eastern Region of Department of Community Services in New South Wales. She was a Training Officer with the New South Wales Police Service in their School of Management on the faculty of Goulburn Police Academy travelling the state to train Police and civilian staff. Her prior work in the private sector was with Chartered Accountants in Sydney. Her first job was in the production office of a zipper and sewing notions factory employing 450 staff from a wide range cultural groups.

Relevant church experience:
Karyn has been in ordained ministry for 20 years holding placements
in country, regional and suburban settings across New South Wales.
Karyn is a former Chairperson of the Board of UnitingCare in the NSW ACT Synod and has served on the National UnitingCare Board. She has been a Minister in both rural and city parishes and congregations as well as Ministry Growth Co-ordinator in the Georges River Presbytery. At present Karyn is the Convenor of the Rural Ministry Unit, a member of the Synod Standing Committee, the Synod Implementation Group and the Social Justice

1. The relevance of the gospel of Jesus Christ as good news for all people, particularly at this time of great stresses across the lives of people and nations, many of whom
are clearly looking for real purpose and meaning, sadly
seeking it in places and relationships that are destructive.

2. For the Church to be a place of celebration, outward-looking
with care and concern for others, not a place of introspection.

3. That the Church be truly open to being a place and people
of transformation – of ourselves and in the world – for the
sake of Christ.

Vision for the UCA: My vision for the Church is somewhat encapsulated in the above
3 points. The Uniting Church has a great heritage and continues to
stand as a unique expression of the Christian faith in Australia and
beyond. We have a privileged calling and positioning in history.
We embrace a wide expression of Christian spirituality and encourage creativity to reflect our unique situation and culture.
Yet, we can easily find ourselves fixated with internal matters that
that sap our energy, leaving little else in otherwise already busy
lives for much else. We have become more an institution than
a movement promoting transformation. We need to re-claim
our passion, our spiritual story and celebrate life in Christ.

In the light of the advice provided by the Assembly Standing Committee at the July 2014 meeting of the ASC, on the challenges and issues likely to be faced by the President and the Assembly in the next seven years,
We need to re-gain our point of spiritual conversion, seek out that
kernel of excitement in knowing Christ, truly, as the one through
….. whom we meet God and find life in all its fullness! I hope we can
better share our story – not only the great story of our three founding
denominations – but the story that is the story of the Holy Spirit of
God burning within us, now, compelling us to be a people
transformed and transforming in the world.

The time is right (and ripe) for the Uniting Church in particular
and all Christians together, to speak out for all that is good and
true and life-giving in the lives of individuals, communities and
the world. The time is right to join with people of other faiths
in seeking all that is good and of God. The time is right for
us to be caring for strangers and not afraid. The time is right to
celebrate our differences and find our true humanity in Christ.
The time is right to learn from the past and move ahead. The time is
right to be courageous and not afraid, to stand up and be counted
as Christians whose lives are made whole and given meaning
and purpose through Jesus Christ.

The world is an amazing place and God is an amazing God
– the source of life itself! Christ calls us to live out our calling
that all may know life without war, or poverty, or violence, or
hatred, or fear, especially in the midst of real turmoil worldwide.
The time is right for us to participate with God who is constantly
in the process of bringing about new beginnings. We are people
of the resurrection with a mandate to celebrate the surprising reality
that God is with us and life is full of possibilities for new life
within and among us, especially in the midst of loss. The whole world is in need of good news. Indeed the earth itself is groaning for
refreshment. Our calling as the UCA is to be the movement, in this
place, in this time, unashamedly ushering in God’s promised new way of living for all, not as a people promoting old ways of the past
but God’s refreshing, life-giving ways now!

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