Ministry matters

With great pleasure and excitement we welcome to the ministry team, Rev Linda Young. 

Rev. Linda Young has a background in teaching, ministry, spiritual direction and supervision.  She has a master’s degree in Spiritual Direction.  Linda was ordained within the Churches of Christ movement in 2002 and since then has served in placements including: Harcourt, East Keilor, Cheltenham, Thornbury, Kaniva & Serviceton (a shared UCA ministry) and Ballarat South UC.  Linda facilitates professional supervision, including CoC and UCA ministers.

Linda is a published author, musician and enjoys travelling and meeting new people.

Linda and her husband Greg have lived in the Macedon Ranges, between ministry placements, for over 30 years. They have two daughters, both married and two grandchildren, who also live locally.

She commenced ministry with us Monday 7th October 2019.

Sunday 16th December 2018 was the last Sunday our ministry (Deacon) candidate Fi Botcher was with us in an official capacity. Rev Deacon Wendy Elson presents Fi with a bowl and towel, symbols of the ministry of the deaconate.

On Easter Day 2019, we said farewell to one of our ministry team members, 

Rev Deac Wendy Elson. While Easter Day is a day of celebration and joy, we were saddened to have to farewell Wendy. We pray God's blessing and grace for her in her next phase of her ministry.

What happens on a Code Red or an Extreme Fire Danger day?

With summer now upon us and a potentially severe bushfire season, it is important to be aware of our policy for our meetings and worship. Check the Contact us Page for details.

Macedon Ranges Partnership Review 2016  

Purpose of the review

As agreed at the formation of the Partnership and recorded in the Memorandum of Understanding, there was to be a shared Presbytery-Macedon Ranges Partnership review of the Partnership after 12 months.

The purpose of this was to provide a way to respond to concerns that may have arisen, and to begin to planning for the future.

Process

A review planning meeting was held at a CoCo meeting in September 2016.

Congregations were informed that a review was to take place

Opportunities were provided for conversation after worship on a particular Sunday

There was an opportunity to attend CoCo as an open forum

An online survey was distributed to every congregational member which was also available in hard copy

Please Click Here to view the results of the survey

Participation

Whilst it isn’t possible to quantify participation in congregational conversation, the survey was completed by 102 people across all congregations, which is considered a high level of participation.

Whilst the Macedon Ranges congregations generally categorize themselves as an older group, there was participation in the survey by some 36-50s, and also a good-sized group of 51-65s.

What did people see at the partnership’s greatest achievements?

The key achievement identified was in finding a skilled ministry team (71%) (and having worked together to survive a long vacancy). Other highly rated achievements were the connections formed between congregations, worship shared, the formation of CoCo, and a shared vision.

Most people are positive about the partnership (hopeful 47%, encouraged 22%, positive 15% = 84% overall).

A number of new initiatives were listed in the comments section.

Concerns

Greatest concern: people being open to change (63%). Other concerns were around finances, the way the ministry team will work (and pressures on it), and that the partnership may not achieve its goals.

Communications

Communications were considered effective.

However, people were almost equally divided about how much they were hearing about what was happening in mission and development across the partnership.

Partnership vision

The vision to explore new ways of being Church and new mission (MOU) was generally understood (83%) though 13% were unsure.

Change needed:

By far the strongest need identified was openness to being church in a new way that connects with the community.

Secondary to that was the need for new mission in the community.

Impacts of the partnership.

Attitudes

Generally, people indicated that the partnership has encouraged them to trust God (although it is likely that some people found it difficult to determine just how much the partnership influenced this), and that love and respect has marked the way the Partnership has worked.

Most people (85%) have been challenged to move from self-centeredness to mutual support. In terms of belonging in a partnership, 78% felt they had been helped by this.

Energy

The strongest energizer of the partnership is hope that the future will be life-giving and thriving (57%), alongside a range of other energizers.

What has most held back the partnership?

By far the biggest barrier was seen as lack of vision.

A range of other issues included size, openness to change, lack of energy, lack of proposals, length of time to get going, physical distances.

Hopes for the future

A large number of individual hopes (76) were listed.

Common ones were for growth, and growth of youth, families, 30’s – 50’s, mission in the local community, and for openness to change.

Others included hopes for the stability of the ministry team, consolidation of some congregations, and the identification of a shared identity and purpose.

Next steps

The outcomes of this review were discussed at CoCo on 12 November 2016 and key issues were identified.

The partnership will now enter a planning phase, which will include devising ways to respond to issues raised in the review.

Summary: signs of encouragement and warning

It is most encouraging that there is a strong sense of hope across the Partnership, a high level of activity and of engagement, as indicated by the high level of participation in this review. There is a keenness to clarify purpose and direction both as a Partnership and locally, to envisage ways to connect with the community, and to develop new mission initiatives.

There is a sense that a lot has been achieved in terms of formation – the establishment of a skilled ministry team, formation of the CoCo, and new or stronger relationships between congregations. However, there's a perceived lack of clear vision for ‘what’s next’. In other words, people are very ready for the Partnership to move from formation to visioning and planning. So, this is an exciting place for the Partnership to be in!

There is a connection between people’s greatest hopes and greatest concerns. There are great hopes for growth, new mission initiatives, new ways of being Church, but significant concern about people being open to change. The point cannot be made too strongly that the success of the Partnership and the achievement of the many hopes of the people will be dependent on openness to change. We often hope that wonderful things will happen without anything needing to change for me and my congregation, and we won’t have to let anything go for the new thing to come! Woo hoo! Wouldn’t it be fantastic if it could work this way!!  But it does not, and so the realization of hopes for the future will rest and depend on the open hearts and hands of every member of this partnership.

Hopes for the future will also rest on relationships - the degree to which each congregation considers the needs of other congregations, the intentional support of the ministry team, the unity of the ministry team, and the unity between the CoCo and the ministers. Within these relationships is the capacity to create a great future, or to become focused on ourselves or ‘them & us’ which could contribute to a very sad end.

That 12 congregations have come together to share their life is an almost unheard-of miracle. At this point it is very appropriate to acknowledge the amazing commitment, positivity and life-giving ministry of Rev Deacon Wendy Elson who held a large region together in the very long and highly demanding period of two vacancies. Thanks should be given to Colin Chapman for his insightful and active leadership, to Bronwyn for her generous commitment and organisational skills and to Pr Annette Buckley and Rev Peter Cannon for responding to the call to share in this great work. Most of all praise should also be given to all whose good will and love for God first conceived this vision, and who enabled so much to be achieved during this demanding formational time.

There is much to be celebrated in what has been achieved so far out of the love and hopes of local people.

May God give you the grace for the next phase of this wonderful journey together.

 

Rev Rose Broadstock,

Mission Development Strategist, Port Phillip West Presbytery.

12 November 2016