Life is better when it’s shared with others.
This is true for us as individuals, and can also be applied to our groups and organisations. Working in collaboration and partnership is a foundation of the Uniting Church.
In this vein, some Uniting Church WA congregations are finding support and renewed life by creating mutual partnerships. Our congregations are diverse geographically, culturally and theologically. Each has its own gifts that they bring to life, which through an intentional relationship could be shared for the benefit of others.
St Martin’s Forrestfield and Kalamunda Uniting Churches have, for over ten years, held a Memorandum of Agreement for a shared arrangement. Included in this is a Joint Co-ordinating Committee, which consists of members from each congregation whose role is to facilitate the process, as well as encourage opportunities for shared ministry and for growth in leadership. The two congregations work together in mission, share ministry costs, have two joint social justice groups, share discipleship and formation studies, and hold regular joint worship services.
Noranda and Margaret River Uniting Churches have also recently formed an intentional relationship, holding a virtual joint worship service where pre-recorded elements were played out in each congregation’s worship. Other congregations, both metropolitan and rural have also enjoyed these kinds of relationships.
The Presbytery is encouraging congregations to consider whether they too are called to develop relationships with another – not as an amalgamation, but as an intentional partnership which works for the benefit of both congregations.
Alison Xamon, Chair of the Presbytery of WA, said there are an exciting range of reasons for congregations to form intentional relationships with each other.
“We’re quite excited about what intentional relationships can offer for congregations,” Alison said.
“It’s an opportunity for meaningful relationships beyond their immediate congregations with other members of the Uniting Church. And to learn different ways of worship, to gain ideas about different ways to do mission and an opportunity to deepen connections across the Uniting Church.
“This is an opportunity to expand, strengthen and grow congregations through increased connection.”
The Presbytery of WA is offering to support congregations as they discern if this is something they would like to pursue, by connecting congregations who might be a good fit for each other.
Alison invites all congregations to prayerfully consider how they might be able to connect in this way and whether this is something they would like to pursue. If your congregation would like to know more, contact Rev Dr David Ferguson, Presbytery Officer for the Uniting Church WA, on 9260 9800 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.