Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Closure of Ministry for Nicole

As a result of shrinking financial resources for our state wide arm [Synod] of the Uniting Church and it's resourcing through the Boards of Education and MIssion [leading to a Board Merger and the collapse of a number of Units and roles into a 5 person Resourcing Team]. The Synod Youth Unit is coming to a conclusion by the end of 2011...
My creative and versatile colleague Nicole is heading off to be the Minister of the Word at Balmain Uniting Church congregation in Sydney [a great thing I believe]!! It's in our tradition to hold what's called a 'Closure of Ministry' worship which recognises the end of responsibilities and a celebration of same... We described it as a simple and meaningful marking of the journey!! Here's what we did at our Centre for Ministry Chapel.
We sat 'in the round' with a central table [black cloth and familiar blue cloth with coloured stars] and it had a crockery bowl and cup and a candle. Across the back of the space there were some 50 photos evoking the aspects and impacts of Nicole's work and some symbolic images. The cloth on the table was sprayed with 'Repo' spray glue. The in house data projector and sound system were in use [except for the dodgy 'hearing loop']!!

1. Opening Words/Call to Worship [Rob]
As we gather here this evening in this place,
acknowledging the traditional owners of this land
and their custodianship since time immemorial,
We need to be reminded of and to hear, the voices of the voiceless.
There are cries of 'quiet desperation', questions, laughter and hope.
There are younger voices from different cultures and contexts.

Will we make space and give permission for who God is calling us to be,
at this time and in this place?

Let's worship God,
A simple celebration and marking of the journey
Opening ourselves to opportunities for justice and love,
of compassion and hospitality.

2. Candle Lighting
"We light this candle as a symbol of Christ's presence with us in the everyday" [Judyth]

3. "Burn Your Name" Powderfinger
Song clip onscreen

4. Welcome/Comments/Apologies [Rob]
a. Welcome to this celebration and marking of the journey for Nicole
as she concludes the 'Youth and Young Adults Worker' role
within the Synod Youth Unit and the Board of Education
b. and c. [various welcome and apology comments]

5. Prayer Activity with "Long Ride" The Audreys [Nicole]
Nic modified a brief intro inviting people to take a card and write a prayer in a word or sentence then place the card on the cloth around the table... all while the song is playing

6. Bible Reading
Luke 24: 13-35 [this weeks lectionary] Charissa

7. "Eric" Story
from 'Tales from Outer Suburbia' Shaun Tan read by Tom
Images onscreen

8. Reflection/Word
- Two sad, despondent travellers on an 11km journey are joined by, in my mind,
a mysterious figure...
- whose natural way is to ask open ?s and so as they journey the stories are told and heard...
- Jesus takes the opportunity and the cues, to share deeply and to walk with...
- As I see it, these travellers have experienced all the dislocation of that Easter experience,
the death of hope, the disappointment, things changing...

- In the Youth Unit we talk about the four fundamental searches of young people [from social researcher, Richard Eckersley in relation to the tasks of a society in relation to it's young]

And in events like Summer Camp we engage with fringe young people and leaders for whom that six days IS church OR their engagement with a community of faith where those saerches can take shape for them.
- Into this space leadership, ministry an engagement in God's activity in the world, happens
- To me the mysterious companion, Jesus, models a style of leadership, helping people explore life and faith in all it's 'crap' and celebration
- This journey, this travelling, brings hospitality to the stranger,
warmth as Jesus enters into their lives, walks 'alongside',
cares and offers space for God to speak.
- These too are the marks of Nicole's ministry and who Nic is..
# open questions
# shared experiences
# mentoring
# grace
# hospitality
In the context of younger leaders, tertiary students, campers, ministry agents, under stress, staff and colleagues teams, asking the obvious but uncomfortable, important and caring questions.
Nic has been a colleague and a friend, who when I haven't had a clue, has...
who has witnessed my occasional 5pm stoush with our boss and has been able to say, "you're right, that's not your fault"
We have felt cared for, welcomed and listened to and kept honest...
Jesus examples and called all of us to take these journeys, to hear each others stories, to be engaged in what's really happening for others, to be engaged in what's really happening for others, offering the deeply held love of God in all ways.

9. Closure
Nicole has undertaken the role of 'Youth and Young Adults Worker' since September 2005
and 'here' are a collection of images
representing the issues, energy, ministry, mission, networks and individuals
in and around the Synod Youth Unit in that time...
[come and choose an image and share in pairs back in your seat, why you chose it]

The Synod through it's Board of Education believes that your ministry
now lies in another place, and confirms your call to Balmain congregation
The time has come to mark the end of your particular responsibilities
and to send you eith God's blessing on this new ministry journey.
[Tina added words of affirmation and thanks]

Hands back symbols and talks to each

Presentation of Gift/Card
Nic shares a few words of thanks
Tina prays for Nic

10. Prayers for the World
You chose a photo and are invited to think about,
who ro what does that image call you to pray for,
place you photo on the table and name aloud what your prayer is...

11. Part of the Sending Out
As we begin to be sent out from this time
This song is offered for reflection and celebration...

12. 'The Wood Song' Indigo Girls
Lyrics on screen

13. Words of Mission/Sending Out
As we mark this moment and continue on our journeys,
let's do that with renewed hope and imagination.
Grace and compassion should be our goal.

Go from here as God's people,
With the energy and spark of God's Spirit,
to live out Jesus example in the world.

No comments: