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Obligatory Location Photo

When one photo lets everyone know where you are.

And for those of you despairing that I have no appreciation for nature.


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Base Of Operations

Checked into our accommodation in Sydney.

Heading from the city to Hurstville for breakfast tomorrow. Probably after my morning walk.

We’re over the road from the ABC headquarters.


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The Third And Final Day Of Business At PCQ Assembly 2019

It was planned for the 2019 PCQ General Assembly to conclude its business mid-afternoon and so it proved to be.
The final two sessions dealt with the remaining items of the agenda, along with matters that had been deferred from earlier sittings.
Something I’d never experienced at Assembly before occurred with Alister Bain’s final sermon. Today he delivered a sermon that he had originally preached at a carols service with his local church. The focus of the message was evangelistic, and as he unfolded the passage from Isaiah he identified the theme of a better future, the common human yearning for a better future, and how the Christian message is the fulfilment of Isaiah’s promise and an invitation to consider and receive God’s offer of that better future. Then Alistair asked for questions and comments, so the Assembly was able to think together about the craft and the heart of preaching.
Assembly resumed consideration of PresCare, commending that ministry of the church and committing to better identify how its work aligns with our local mission and ministry as a denomination.
Outreach and Nurture Committee presented their report on the growing youth and camping ministries of the denomination, along with their desire to develop a staff team who are able to develop resources and equip and train leaders for local youth ministry.
The Gospel in Society Today (GiST) committee considers various ethical and social issues and seeks to help guide the church about how we can best express the unchanging standards of the Bible while we engage with rapidly changing social circumstances and standards. The Assembly and its members feel the pressure of wanting to have ready responses that are informed by the mind of the church to in the context of processes that take time to achieve collective expressions. The Committee does this very well, and I was encouraged by the scope of their output, as well as the pastoral heart behind it.
Apart from those major items we expressed out thanks to Brisbane Boys College for hosting the Assembly. Those of us who make use of the live-in facilities are particularly well-served.
Phil Strong provided a considered and assured presence in the chair which enabled the Assembly members to feel supported by process in achieving their outcomes rather than being obstructed.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten a thing or two, but it was a great time of considering progress in our mission and ministry, along with making decisions aimed at enabling, under God’s grace, our future steps forward.

Davo Gunning, Phil Strong, and me.


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Reassuring

The monitors on our desk at Assembly are full of helpful information.

And this statement, which is not true, but is comforting none the less.


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A Full Second Day Of Business At PCQ Assembly 2019

PCQ General Assembly day two also commenced at 8.30am and concluded at 9.30pm.
The focus today was on the receiving a variety of reports and considering recommendations relating to their content.
We were encouraged by two sermons from Alistair Bain, who continued to preach from Luke chapter 9.
The focus was on the “Our Preaching” and “Our Persistence”.
Bill MacRae, the Moderator of the West Australian Assembly addressed the house, and spoke of the appreciation of that assembly for support and leadership that the Queensland Assembly and its ministries have provided to WA. There is a need for planning for the future, as well as consolidating their church and congregational structures.
Reports on activity in Presbyteries were given by Moreton Bay, Central Queensland, Wide Bay, South Australia, Darling Downs, Mowbray, North Queensland (including Darwin), and Brisbane.
Assembly did not think this was the right time to activate a proposal by our state mission committee to approve the creation of a part-time director to assist the national director and office of APWM. The Committee will need to refine the basis of their proposal and wait for a time when the denomination has an appropriate stream of financial support available.
The Queensland Theological College reported on its activities as it seeks to establish itself as a world class educational institution. There are 153 students. The training on the ministry committee informed assembly that in addition to the twenty full-time or part-time candidates for the ministry, more applications were being processed.
The work of Dunbar Homes in Adelaide was acknowledged.
In the afternoon, Fairholme College, Saint Andrews Hospital, the Presbyterian and Methodist Schools Association, Grace College, and Emmanuel College informed the Assembly in their progress in carrying out their works of education, care, support, and nurturing community and wellbeing.
PresCare reported to the Assembly regarding their activities, which take place in a complex and demanding area of human interaction and care for the aged and infirm. The Assembly continues to walk carefully through this area of ministry, given its complexity and distinction from our usual area of carrying out ministry and mission.
Nominees for various appointments, and members of Assembly committees were either elected or confirmed in their positions.
The Committee On Ministry Resourcing reported on its ongoing work of overseeing the appointments of various parish workers, along with their support for, and interaction with five current church plants and pastoral professional support for ministry workers.
Our Property Board presented an overview of their activities, both in supporting local congregations with their property matters, and in supporting the denomination through the ownership of holiday accomodation for pastors and their families among other areas.
Rev Andrew Richardson was introduced to the Assembly as the nominee moderator designate. The house warmly expressed their approval of the nomination, and Andrew begins a year of preparation for the role of Moderator.

We’re tracking well to finish in good time tomorrow.


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A Long And Varied Day One At PCQ Assembly 2019

PCQ General Assembly began at 8.30am and concluded at 9.30pm.
That’s a long day, but it is also quite varied in content.
At 7.00am the live-in commissioners gather to hear a devotional talk (this year from Laurie Peake), sing praise and pray.
Alistair Bain, pastor of St Johns Hobart preached from Luke’s Gospel about our purpose as disciples being part of the growth of the kingdom of God. We preach the Gospel, show mercy, and trust in the power of Christ. It was encouraging to remember our role is not to make the old perishing kingdom better, but to invite and see people enter the new eternal kingdom of God.
Peter Mayrick from the Center For Ministry Development led us in a seminar, helping us to consider how our mission could be carried out faithfully in the era and culture in which we live. Previous generations faithfully lived out the mission. We live it now. We have the same tools as previous generations: word, spirit, people, place. It was particularly interesting to see how statistical and survey information can be skilfully interpreted in a manner that helps churches to understand if their practice matches their stated goal desires or whether some adjustment would be helpful.
After lunch three other seminars were offered in rotation (members could attend two) helping us think about leadership paradigms in churches of various size, use of technology to support parish management and administration, and the place and function of small groups in church life.
Assembly Business began with consideration of the Business Committee report (mapping out our agenda for the next two and a half days).
Peter Barson was elected as our new Clerk of Assembly with a remembrance of the late Ron Clark being held over to an appropriate time. Since the deputy clerk position is considered open when the Clerk’s position chances, Lesleigh Hall was elected deputy-clerk for the fourth time, a testimony to the Assembly’s respect for his skill. Other items of business were our Finance and Administration Board, the finalisation of various rule changes, matters referred to Assembly by our standing commission, and our appreciation to outgoing moderator Mike O’Connor, and our thanks to Phil Strong for his sermon at our opening service last night.
In the transition from afternoon to evening we had a missions dinner in which our Assembly Committee presented speakers who talked about the theological college’s training pathway that encourages and equips all students to engage, participate in, and support world mission. Then we heard from some people who are serving in the field. Kevin Murray, the national missions director addressed the dinner about the progress of our national church’s support of cross cultural and indigenous work. The consideration of the mission committee’s report and recommendations was also begun in our evening session and will be completed later in our meetings.
There was more. Scripture reading, prayer, a few other items I’ve overlooked.
A balance of devotional and administrative work.
The why and the how of our mission balanced as we gather togethers.
And of course there was time to speak to people while sharing breakfast, lunch, dinner, morning and afternoon teas.

Now for sleep.
The weather looks a bit inclement, so I don’t know how my morning walk will go tomorrow.


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Business Starts At Assembly

PCQ General Assembly business begins.

The David Cook memorial chaplain selfie.