Monday, August 27, 2012
Exploring diaconal ministry - a post by Steve Taylor
Rev Dr Steve Taylor, Principal, Uniting College for Leadership and Theology (UCLT) in SA, wrote on his blog:
A few weeks a young couple came to see me, armed with questions about ministry in the Uniting Church. With their permission, this is some of their story.
She was born in rural Australia and moved to Adelaide to study. In 2008, as part of her degree, she did a placement in Port Augusta. She felt a stirring, a sense that she might return one day. She returned to Adelaide to continue her study. She met and married a trained youth worker.
After university study, they found employment in community ministry here in Adelaide. Together they sensed God’s call to the marginalised and poor. In order to explore this call they moved to work with Urban Neighbours of Hope (UNOH) in Sydney. They loved the values of UNOH, of Incarnational work in partnership with the lost and the least. But they still remained restless, sensing their call was not urban, but to regional South Australia.
They moved to Port Augusta, he to community youth work, she to volunteering at the aged care home in Davenport, plus paid a few days a week as part of the Aboriginal education team in the school. They found the most run down suburb and moved in. They find themselves linking with the Uniting Church, one week with Congress, the other week with Port Augusta Uniting Church.
In the Uniting Church they heard about the ministry of Deacon. Hence their visit to see me. They want to be in Port Augusta for the next 15 years, to embrace a ministry of Incarnational community development. How can their sense of call be realised in the ministries of the Uniting Church?
The Uniting Church’s understanding of ministry is that we are all called to ministry. The Basis of Union says “The Uniting Church affirms …. one Spirit has endowed the members of his church with a diversity of gifts, and that there is no gift without its corresponding service: all ministries have a part in the ministry of Christ.”
The Uniting College is about developing effective leaders of healthy, missional churches who are passionate, Christ-centred, highly skilled, mission oriented practitioners. That is you and that is me and that is our friends in Port Augusta seeking to discern their gifts and calling with the Uniting Church.