Midweek Musing: a new presbytery

Along with a new city, new congregation, new state/territory, I also have a new presbytery to get to know. Saturday was the first time I gathered with the meeting, and I noticed a few things.

The meeting is very anglo in its ethnicity, only a couple of people in the room with different coloured skin. While many of our congregations are quite diverse in our ethnicity, mine included, the representation in the regional meeting is not. I wonder why that is? Is the multicultural nature of the congregations indicative of a more transient element of the population, not here long enough to become the known and trusted members to take on such roles and responsibilities? Are our meetings and structures quite western, and therefore alienating to people from different cultures? I wonder.

The mood was positive, light, full of humour. People were happy to be there, happy to see each other, happy to share a joke with each other. In their welcome of me, it was clear that people had paid attention to the communication about which new ministers were moving to the presbytery, what our gifts are, where we've come from. One of my fellow ministers in the presbytery expressed the hope that the wider presbytery would be able to share in the gifts I, and other of our new colleagues, bring here. While the commitment to the work of the congregations is clear, the vision is wider, to the whole church.

Our meeting facilitators were positive, and clearly committed to enabling the work of the churches as the embodiment of the body of Christ in our local settings. There is a proactive element to their work, and openness to their communication, a humility in their leadership and willingness to laugh, even at themselves.

I was greeted by one of my new presbytery colleagues with a hug – we've met once before, and have many mutual friends, but I was delightfully surprised by this sisterly welcome.

As I said goodbye, another fellow minister said, I'll see you at the ethics and ministers' gathering in a couple of weeks. It's fun, we have a great time.

Of course nothing is perfect, and I'm sure the imperfections will become visible soon enough, but overall, I think I am going to like it here in the Canberra Region Presbytery.


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