Sydney Presbytery. Sydney Presbytery members were asked why their faith in Jesus Christ was still important. Here are some of their answers.

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1 Sydney Presbytery 1. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO TELL THE STORY OF JESUS CHRIST TODAY? Sydney Presbytery members were asked why their faith in Jesus Christ was still important. Here are some of their answers. I am still a disciple of Jesus because Jesus call to follow, and the community who take up that road with me, give me the greatest hope for the world. Where else would we go? You alone have the words of eternal (joyful, hope-filled, peace-making, abundant, missional) life? even when I experience times of great doubt, I know that what we the Church are doing is making the world a better place by choosing life. I have found that following the Way in community with others brings me joyous and authentic life. Jesus never stops calling me, never leaving me, affirming my worth and giving me peace! Because in Jesus life God is made flesh, made known to us calling us to love and justice. He doesn t let me go no matter my mistakes, no matter that sometimes my faith falters. I m too stubborn to quit. Jesus is risen and is my Lord & Saviour. In response, I serve. At this new and very challenging time for our recently amalgamated congregation I have accepted a calling from God to work with the people to share and put into practice all knowledge that I have gained in my life thru the love of Jesus Christ. Jesus said you are my disciple. I believed and trusted and followed him and I will all my life until Jesus come again to the earth. I believe that life is all its fullness is found in the community of discipleship (with everything that entails). Discipleship is about commitment I have decided no turning back. In my experience no other voice, no other name, no other way leads to life in all its fullness.

2 I believe whole heartedly in the resurrection of the Lord, and the truth to which it points makes such sense of our world and leads to deep contentment and real purpose. He gives meaning and purpose for my life and he empowers me to go out in ministry. He calls me to ever new experience. He draws me ever to move on. His bravery ever excites me. His clarity ever teaches me. His pathway ever draws me. His confidence leads me. Choose life life abundant, full and flourishing. He just won t leave me alone. It is the only way that the world makes sense. There is no one like him. He gives direction to my life. He provides inspiration and hope. He shows me what God is like. His people provide a community of support. His Spirit provides strength and comfort. He is my way, my truth and my life. Without him I have no focussed centre for my life and no hope for the future. God loves me and all he has created. I love God and all his people and I have dedicated my life to serving Him and his Kingdom and all in need. I believe in life, in love, in hope especially in a world which is suffering and needs healing. I am still a disciple because I love and uphold the life, death and resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

3 2. WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO SUPPORT THE CHURCH (PARTICULARLY CONGREGATIONS) TO TELL THE STORY OF JESUS CHRIST OVER THE LAST 18 MONTHS? Sydney Presbytery s mission is to exercise our ministry of oversight in ways that lead the Church to life life in all its fullness as promised to us in Jesus Christ. Our passion is to see thriving, well-resourced, missional churches (Congregations, Parish Missions and Faith Communities) witnessing to the reconciled and renewed creation that is the very mission of God through Jesus Christ. Our four Areas of Focus under our Strategic Plan for are: 1. Flourishing Leaders: building a culture of faithful innovation and leadership development among our people that supports our partnership in God s mission. A recent highlight: Hosting our second No Retreat: Learning Leadership event with guest speakers Dame Marie Bashir and Lucy Turnbull, keynote input from Rev. Dr. Karina Kreminski and workshops by Pr Ray Minniecon, Rev. Dr. Ian Robinson, Bradon French and David Barrow. A particular highlight was our Gala Dinner hosted by Robyn Goodwin with stories from our Moderator Rev. Myung Hwa Park, Rev. Fololeni Tafokitau, Rev. Bill Crews and Rev. Vanessa Williams-Henke and a performance by surprise guests Café of the Gate of Salvation gospel choir. The theme of the event was the ongoing transformation of the Church for God's mission. 2. Fruitful Congregations: ensuring that our Congregations enact a vibrant gospel-based vision, exercise effective governance & steward sufficient resources for their vision. A recent highlight: Creating and delivering, in partnership with UME, a high quality Congregational governance training package and 1 day course. Governance is not merely about compliance or the corporatisation of the Church, as some suggest. It is instead about the clarity of purpose and organisation of our God-given giftedness to serve the effective functioning and witness of local communities for the sake of the gospel. 3. Faithful Oversight: living out our purpose and communicating about our work in ways that empower, encourage and exhort one another to fulfil our high calling (BoU, par 15). A recent highlight: A significant commitment to participate in the Synod Standing Committee s priority to repay its loan was made within the understanding that all our processes and decisions must align with our Presbytery vision and passion. Whilst this has led to reallocation to Synod of some previously held proceeds, plans to redevelop at least two sites and sell a further site there have been times when these consultations have extended a congregation s thinking and practice of mission. An example of this is at Majors Bay Rd, Concord, which was mostly unused by Concord West Congregation, which has now been made available for the OneHeart Faith Community of Sydney Central Coast Presbytery to grow their mission.

4 4. Future Growth: increasing in number, expanding our missional capabilities and enlarging our collective impact among the communities in which we live. A recent highlight: We continue to invest in a three-fold ministry with tertiary students. We invest in On Campus Engagement through Bible Studies, pastoral relationships and events. We invite a local Congregation to orient a key part of its life towards Young Adult Discipleship Formation. Thirdly, we provide affordable housing for students connected with those Congregations in which intentional Christian community is prioritised. We have been cooperating with Congregations to develop plans to expand the capacity of each of those housing solutions at least three-fold at Hope Uniting (at Maroubra Junction), at Leichhardt and at Burwood. Please click here to view the Sydney Presbytery 2016 Annual Report

5 3. HOW WILL YOU SUPPORT CONGREGATIONS TO TELL THE STORY OF JESUS CHRIST IN A CHANGING WORLD IN THE NEXT 18 MONTHS? Over the next 18 months we intend to do the following across our four Area of Focus: 1. Flourishing Leaders: building a culture of faithful innovation and leadership development among our people that supports our partnership in God s mission. The year or so ahead: To expand our work, in consultation with UME, in training and development e.g. our Parish Mission leadership mentoring project, and to establish Peer Learning networks amongst ministry agents to foster their cooperative learning around missional leadership. 2. Fruitful Congregations: ensuring that our Congregations enact a vibrant gospel-based vision, exercise effective governance & steward sufficient resources for their vision. The year or so ahead: To establish our Congregational Transformation project whereby the Presbytery partners with 3 to 5 congregations over 3 years in their plans to rethink, rearrange and reorganise themselves for contemporary and missional approaches to worship, witness and service. This will be done through the ministry of a new Mission Officer and the collaboration between local Church Councils and Presbytery committees. 3. Faithful Oversight: living out our purpose and communicating about our work in ways that empower, encourage and exhort one another to fulfil our high calling (BoU, par 15). The year or so ahead: We will be investing in improving our communications through the development of a holistic Communications Strategy, implementing a fit-for-purpose CRM solution and improving our use of electronic and social media. We hope to seed fund a joint project with Uniting Sydney Central Region to explore ways to communicate about our collective work to the wider Sydney Central community and inspire widespread conversation about God s mission of reconciliation and renewal in accessible language and formats. 4. Future Growth: increasing in number, expanding our missional capabilities and enlarging our collective impact among the communities in which we live. The year or so ahead: We will be investing in Young Adult Discipleship Formation amongst Pacific Islander communities through a partnership with the Sydney Alliance to expand and grow the Choice Program led by Liuanga Palu. This Program will develop a core group of young adults of the Pacific Uniting Churches in Sydney Presbytery to explore what faith in community action looks like for them and to encourage the re-investment of their energy and leadership back into the church and the wider community with a focus on climate issues affecting Pacific nations.

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