Our education ministry team, the Commission for Education for Discipleship and Leadership (CEDAL) recently held our End of Year Celebration Service to celebrate key milestones in 2019 and also to give thanks to its people. The service was marked by celebration and joy. Joy for the future working together, helping to make new ways forward for our church, milestones together.

In 2017, it was decided that the development of educational opportunities would be prioritised to help grow the church.

This was an exciting moment.

Much of our life in the church is overshadowed by the gloom of predictions of the end with declining congregational numbers and fewer ministry placements and a declining financial base.

Here are some of the events undertaken by CEDAL in 2019 building on the work that has gone before and specifically expanding our attention in areas which have not yet received a renewed focus.

  1. By paying attention to nurture and encouragement for those in Period of Discernment (POD) and renewing our outreach with a major push on developing the Ministry Expo in late August. We now have 16 enrolled in POD at present.
  2. As a church we have often forgotten the art of celebration with fun. So we ran an afternoon High Tea for retired clergy. We wanted them to experience gratitude and to be informed of the current plans in presbytery staff.
  3. By developing formation which is skills based outcomes for phase 2 in line with the new assembly guidelines. The new guidelines are focused on the development of 14 attributes which will assist developing candidates towards mission and skill readiness for ministry.
  4. By working with Phase 3 in continuing education and retreat days with supervision and support.
  5. By developing discipleship materials for lay education: Mission Shaped Ministry is our major push as a particular goal of the presbytery since 2017. We are also working on renewing the Summer Spirit program in 2020 with a Next Gen and Intercultural focus- Youth ministry is both intercultural and inter-generational in this exciting program being brought to us by Rev Apwee Ting and Rev Charissa Suli.
  6. In work across CEDAL, Thrive and Next Gen we hope to introduce an internship year program and launch in 2021.
  7. We are doing a big push in pioneering ministry training in 2020. In July, our School of Ministry will focus on ‘Ministerial Malaise in the Secular Age’.  Rev Dr Andrew Dutney will be leading this event which is themed around developing wellness and springs off from the recent work by Andrew Root in “The Pastor in the Secular Age”.
  8. Dr. Elaine Ledgerwood, our Presbytery Minister for the VET sector began an exciting new area of work in picking up the Certificate IV program for training Lay preachers, pastors and those interested in developing their understanding of theology. She also began English and theology classes, first with a group from the Beth Shalom Uniting Church (pictured below) but now broadened to include people of many backgrounds who seek to upskill their education levels while studying theology.

  9. We launched our new logo and name: Equip. It summarises our focus on engaging, encourage and empowering all the people of God in their call and ministry. Most of us learn best through targeted skill development, continuing encouragement and practice with theological reflection.
  10. Training Pioneers for the future growth of the church.
  11. By attention to spiritual growth and reflection in Supervision, in engagement in wider studies and continuing to read. We are very focused on renewing our ministry team for the future. Many of our clergy are rapidly approaching retirement and we urgently need to renew our ministry team in the next decade. It is an exciting time to involved in CEDAL and an exciting time to grow something new. Pray with us for renewal in our church. I believe that it is possible with the right directions for our energies in mission and by ‘closing the loop’ in our community engagement.

It is with hope and high energy that we look forward to another fruitful year in 2020. If you would like to know more about Equip,  drop me an email at anne.wright@wa.uca.org.au.

Rev Dr Anne Wright
Director of Education and Formation

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