Susy Thomas was installed as the new Moderator, the public leader and spokesperson, of the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA), Synod of Western Australia for the triennium 2020 to 2023 at the opening worship of the 44th Synod last night, Friday 11 September in Wesley College Chapel.

A small community gathered in a COVID safe manner in Wesley College Chapel joined online by guests from around Western Australia, Australia, New Zealand, India, United Kingdom, United States of America and others.

Beth Shalom Uniting Church’s choir sang in Tongan prior to the commencement of worship.

Wesley College’s Moorditj Mob Dancers and didgeridoo players, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander program, began the worship to welcome the Synod to the College.

Mitchell Garlett, Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress WA Regional Committee member, led the Welcome to Country in language to Wadjuk Noongar land.

Worship included participation of representatives of Uniting Church WA schools, agencies and our diverse congregations.

After Susy was installed as Moderator, she was presented with the Moderator’s Scarf, Staff and Pendant by Ex-Moderator, Rev Steve Francis.

The Scarf represents the yoke and is a symbol of service as Moderator. The blue scarf with the Uniting Church in Australia emblem mounted on a panel of silver cloth is also embroidered with the name of the Council over which she presides.

The Pastoral Staff has been passed from Moderator to Moderator since 1993 as a symbol of pastoral leadership within the Synod. The Staff reminds us of ‘the good shepherd’ who cares for all creation.

Since 1996, most Moderator’s have worn the Pendant, a silver stylised UCA emblem as a symbol of the role. In the community and throughout the church, the Pendant identifies the wearer as the Moderator.

Gifts were presented to Susy on behalf of our agencies, UnitingWA, Good Sammy Enterprises and Juniper and our schools, Methodist Ladies’ College, Penrhos College, Presbyterian Ladies’ College, St Stephen’s School, Scotch College, Tranby College and Wesley College.

We heard scripture from Isaiah 25: 1-9, Romans 15: 1 – 13 and Matthew 5: 1 – 11.

Susy gave the sermon, highlighting her triennium theme from Romans 15: 13, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The focus of this first year are the words, ‘overflow with hope’.

“Biblical hope is the confident expression of what God has promised, and what he will, in his faithfulness, cause to happen. Biblical hope is not only our wish for something good, but our confidence in God’s good, perfect and loving plans for each one of us. Loving plans that, in his mercy and in his time, he will bring about,” said Susy.

“For as Paul reminds us, we are not simply given some hope; not simply given a bit of hope. We are, through the Holy Spirit of Christ, given hope that overflows, that bubbles over like that life-giving water of which Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well.”

Susy finished her sermon and said, “I hope to walk alongside you. To pray with you, and to be prayed for by you. I hope to support you, and to be supported by you. I hope to minister to you, and to be ministered to by you. And in all of this, as we do these things together, my prayer is that the God of hope will fill us with peace and joy, and that we will overflow with the hope of God’s Holy Spirit, as we trust in him.”

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