Report on Queanbeyan Intentional Interim Ministry, to Congregational Meeting, 14 July 2019

Canberra Region Presbytery (CRP), in consultation with the Queanbeyan Uniting Church (QUC), have implemented an Intentional Interim Ministry (IIM) placement at Queanbeyan, at 75% for 2019.

IIM placements are established by Presbytery in consultation with Congregations to address times of transition in ministry and enable Congregations to discern and embrace positive future ministry. They are short term placements and they follow a particular process addressing the Five Developmental Tasks of the Congregation:

  1. Coming to terms with the Congregation’s history
  2. Discerning the Congregation’s purpose and identity
  3. Supporting leadership change and development
  4. Reaffirming and strengthening denominational links
  5. Committing to new leadership and new ministry

For the July Congregational Meeting, I am reporting on what has occurred thus far, and what is planned for the coming months.

1. Key moments completed February to July

Induction in February

Listening process over initial months

Lent-Holy Week-Easter journey, worship and study groups on Wilderness Journey

Working with Transition Team to explore History and Identity of the Congregation

19 May Service of celebrating, letting go and looking forward

Second round of studies with two small groups

23 June Workshop on “what sort of church are we?” (core values, key commitments)

Sermons regarding Good Neighbour Church, Good News/Discipleship Church

Preparation of resources for ongoing life of congregation

Pastoral involvements, meetings with specific individuals, BS Group

Monthly Church Council meetings

My ongoing continuing education and regular reflection on QUC situation with Transition Team, Reference Group, Professional Supervisor

July Synod meeting

2. Key moments anticipated for July to December

6 August Workshop on Constructive Conversations that transform relationships

8 September Workshop on Mission Planning and Strategic Directions for QUC

Future studies on discipleship for the life of the Congregation

Plan Agora anticipations and deliberations

Membership within QUC: position paper for consideration by Congregation

Leadership within QUC: consideration of future ministry configuration and future lay leadership

Nominations for leadership roles open in late September

Discernment and Elections in November, establishing a new leadership group into 2020

JNC and Profile, process of seeking a minister for 2020 onwards

Monthly Church Council meetings

Worship in Advent and Christmas

My ongoing reflection with Transition Team, Reference Group, Professional Supervisor

Conclusion of placement in January 2020

QUC

QUC is a church in transition. Our membership and our leadership is changing. We are not alone in this, however. We are in transition, like so many of our fellow-believers across the Western world. In our lifetimes, we have seen the growth of a diverse multifaith mix in society. We know that we live in an increasingly vocal secularised or anti-faith environment, where the church is both smaller than in its heyday, and also occupying a very different place in (or on the edges of) society. We are all in a context of transition.

I recently spent a week with a cohort of ministers who are undertaking training in the Foundations of Transitional Ministry, with a view to being accredited as an Intentional Interim Ministry (IIM). I was there as a co-teacher in the course, along with my wife Elizabeth Raine, an experienced IIM practitioner, and Rob McFarlane, a colleague who has taught this course now for almost two decades. It was a rich experience of learning in community.

The course (in two parts—this is the second part of the course) seeks to equip ministers for transitional ministry; ministry in contexts where changes are afoot (or need to be afoot!), where transitions are taking place, where the ground seems to be shifting under our feet as we walk the pathway ahead of us.

And that might well refer to almost every ministry context these days in our post-Christendom context. We are all in a context of transition.

One of the prayers included in the training resources offered these words: eternal God, lead me now out of the familiar setting of my doubts and fears, beyond my pride and my need to be secure, into a strange and graceful ease with my true proportions and yours …

May that be our prayer, also.

John Squires, July 2019

Author: John T Squires

My name is John Squires. I live in the Australian Capital Territory. I have been an active participant in the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) since it was formed in 1977, and was ordained as a Minister of the Word in this church in 1980. I have served in rural, regional, and urban congregations and as a Presbytery Resource Minister and Intentional Interim Minister. For two decades I taught Biblical Studies at a theological college and most recently I was Director of Education and Formation and Principal of the Perth Theological Hall. I've studied the scriptures in depth; I hold a number of degrees, including a PhD in early Christian literature. I am committed to providing the best opportunities for education within the church, so that people can hold to an informed faith, which is how the UCA Basis of Union describes it. This blog is one contribution to that ongoing task.

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