Discerning the faith journey

Sixteen members of the Presbytery of WA and one member of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (Congress WA) gathered for a retreat on Saturday 24 February, to give serious and prayerful consideration to the ways that they discern the will of God.

The group included six people who are engaged in a Period of Discernment (POD); one Candidate for a Minister of Word; five Faculty members of Perth Theological Hall; and the convenors and  some members of the Candidates for the Ministries Committee (CMC) and the Commission for Education for Discipleship and Leadership (CEDAL).

The group gathered at Kalamunda Uniting Church for the retreat, facilitated by Rev Gordon Scantlebury. The theme for the day was Discernment. The group used the tools developed by Ignatius of Loyola, to consider how we open ourselves to God’s Spirit, how we seek the leading of God, and how we discern and decide in our faith journey. The retreat ended with participants each sharing the burdens that they felt personally, and their best hopes for their own futures.

The Discernment Retreat was held the day after a service at Maylands Mt Lawley Uniting Church to mark the Commencement of the Year for Education and Formation. The Chairperson of Presbytery, Rev Lorraine Stokes, inducted two new Presbytery Ministers with responsibility for Formation and Discipleship, and the people gathered welcomed Rev Dr Anne Wright and Rev  Emma Matthews into these positions.

Director of Education and Formation, Rev Dr John Squires, preached on ‘Faithful discipleship: a call to transformation.’ He outlined how theological education was undergoing significant change around the world, and indicated that the Perth Theological Hall is being reshaped to equip leaders for “a different church for a different world,” in line with the recent Presbytery decisions about Mission Shaped Ministry and the intention of the Synod Strategic Plan to develop new expressions of church amongst collaborating communities of faith.

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