assembly posting 3

Just a shorter post today.

dutneyTwo significant events stand out.  Firstly, the election of Andrew Dutney (Rev Dr) to the position of President – Elect.  Andrew is the Principal of the Uniting College for Leadership and Theology (Adelaide) and an Associate Professor at Flinders University. He’ll take up the role in 3 years time.  From the Assembly website, comes these words:

(Andrew) has been one of the leading interpreters of the history and theology of the Uniting Church, and is widely published in the areas of theology and ethics. From 1996 to 2006 Rev. Dr Dutney was the chairperson of the South Australian Council on Reproductive Technology. Added to that, he was the foundation Director of the Centre for Theology, Science and Culture, a joint activity of Flinders University and the Adelaide College of Divinity.

Announcing the decision to the Assembly the President, Rev. Alistair Macrae, said that the President-elect would “bring abundant gifts to the role”.

Looking to the future, Rev. Dr Dutney said, “Reconciliation is what we’re all about. So we must be a church that transcends whatever fractures and divides our world”.

“It means being a church with a passion for and practical commitment to reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

“It means being passionate about sharing the message of God’s love for the world, confident that the Gospel still has the power to heal and transform broken lives and societies.

“It means being a multi-generational, multi-ethnic, cross-cultural network of congregations and agencies with genuine relationships with people on the edges of Australian society and with Christian communities in Asia, the Pacific and Africa.

“It means working harder at enabling the participation and leadership of women in the church.”

The three other nominees included Ms Rosemary Hudson Miller (WA), Rev. Jason Kioa (Vic/Tas), and Rev. Dr Rob Bos (QLD).

I’m thrilled about this, not only for the chief reason that I believe Andrew has the gifting in abundance for the role, but alongside this, Andrew is a longtime peer of mine.  We’re roughly the same age and go back a long way – back to the mid/late 1970s when we often found ourselves in the same “space” in Christian music circles, as well as Presbyterian/UCA youth & children’s camping programs.  I count him as a friend, though we don’t rub shoulders all that often.  Also, though grew up, churchwise, at Toowong Presbyterian/Uniting.  His parents Neil and Beth Dutney are still active members there.  Please keep Andrew in your prayers.

danielsmith-christopherTonight was a night I almost missed.  I really wanted an early night; a night to put my feet up, read a bit, pray, and toss around some song ideas (really hard without a guitar, but I have done it before!).  I almost missed a lecture by Daniel Smith-Christopher – Professor of Theological Studies and Director of Peace Studies, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles.  Daniel is an American Quaker, and presented the triennial Cato Lecture – a feature of Assemblies for many years.  Daniel’s topic was: Overboard with Jonah; Over the Line with Ezra: Biblical Themes for the Church in Exile.

I stayed awake!  I’ll unpack this some more in a future posting OR give a link (not yet available) to the Assembly site for the full text, but basically Daniel Smith-Christopher suggests that we need to be on about developing a Biblical theology of exile; to ask the question “What does it mean to be in exile?”  “What does it mean to read the Bible as a people in exile?” AND that rather than the Exodus narrative early in the Old Testament pages, it is in fact the exile to Babylon – out of which both Jonah and Ezra were written that forms the central/defining narrative.  Interesting.  I’m still mulling over all this, so don’t stress if this makes little sense.  Stay tuned – there’s some reflection necessary here.

On a different note, I wish I could have also been in Brisbane to hear Katie, Joy, Matt and Toby – Remember Seven – launch their CD at Brisbane City Council – for Zambian Orphans & Vulnerable Children Project fundraising etc.

I should have brought that guitar!!!   Well maybe.  Dale and I ended up bringing back on the flight home from the States, 4 items of hand-luggage AND four large  suitcases.  Enough for today.

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