Looking forward, looking back

One of the great pleasures I have enjoyed in my first year as Moderator has been the opportunity to travel outside the metropolitan area into the wide expanses of this great state, and being able to meet with so many community leaders andcongregations. Often, I have been overwhelmed by the tenacity and improvisation evident in people’s lives. Even in the midst of flood, fire or cyclone, fatalism and defeat take a back seat to picking up the pieces and starting all over again.

On long Moderatorial journeys, the car radio has a lot of countryand western music, such as Archie Roach or Paul Kelly, telling stories of love, pain, struggle, loss, suffering and hope. Their lyrics often sum up what people are thinking, even if not always expressed in language familiar to those of us within the church.

It is little wonder that four years after his death in 2003, more than seven million albums of the much loved Australian icon, Slim Dusty were sold in Australia, far outselling the Bible-songs describing in homespun lyrics something of our faith journey.

Making sense of what I’ve seen
All the love we’ve had between
You and I, along the track
Looking forward, looking back.

So as my first Moderatorial year comes to a close, I have been ‘looking back’. However, as I prepare now for my second year, I am ‘looking forward’, advancing the theme of ‘Trusting in God’, based on Romans 15:13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

I believe we are very privileged to be a part of the Uniting Church, in whatever capacity we participate. This was highlighted recently when I met with the principals and chaplains of our seven Uniting Church WA schools and the chief executive officers of our caring agencies. I have shared a special day with 33 ministers in placement, as we examined the common elements of our ministry journey; our Pentecost Day service at Penrhos College, drew together so many from across the diversity of our church’s life; and our ongoing engagement with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress, have all been special moments in my Moderatorial journey thus far.

Currently we are in the planning stage for organising a Christmas get together. The planned date is Sunday 12 December. More information will follow.

A particular highlight for me has been regularly meeting with the Heads of Churches, a unique engagement in the life of the church in WA, as we discover those things we have in common and how we can speak with one voice to our own churches and to the wider community.

As your Moderator, I am privileged to represent the Uniting Church in so many different places and being afforded the opportunity to speak, not only as a follower of Jesus, but to tell the world of the great things the Uniting Church is undertaking in the name of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

I wish you all every blessing.

Susy Thomas
Moderator, Uniting Church WA

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