Main Image: Reverend Andrew Gunton (Supplied). Listen: 96five’s Alex Milne talks with Andrew about his new role as head of the Uniting Church.
Reverend Andrew Gunton has been inducted as the new Moderator of the Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod.
The service was held at the Queensland Synod office in Auchenflower on Thursday 22 October 2020 and attended by a small number of family and friends in line with COVID-19 restrictions as well as livestreamed so that others could witness the historic event.
Since his ordination in 2002, Andrew has served in ministerial placements in Rockhampton South, Arana Hills and most recently, Oxley, Darra and as Presbytery Minister for the Moreton Rivers Presbytery.
Reverend Gunton told 96five’s Alex Milne that there was more to the role than just becoming the spiritual head of the Uniting Church in Queensland.
“It’s also about being the church’s number one cheerleader. I’m out there telling people the good work that the church is doing, but also sharing with the broader community the hope that the church has; the hope that we place in God, but also what God is calling us to.”
There are some significant challenges faced for leaders in a state as vast as Queensland, but one that Reverned Gunton is excited to meet.
“We have churches spread from Thursday Island all the way down to Stanthorpe, and have divided up the state into seven regions which we call presbyteries. I will be connecting with the leaders of those presbyteries – they have the responsibilities of overseeing those congregations. They are the really important intersect with our ministers and congregations, so it’s all about supporting them and helping them to fulfil their mission within the church.”
There are a number of other ministries that Andrew will also oversee that have had a long history of supporting communities right across the state.
“We have tremendous reach, not only through our congregations but through agencies like UnitingCare Queensland and Wesley Mission Queensland as well as our hospitals, aged-care facilities, schools and early learning services. By working together across the whole Uniting Church network, we will be able to tangibly impact communities across Queensland.
Andrew takes over the role from Rev David Baker who has served as Moderator for the past six years and will commence a new role as Chief Executive Officer of Queensland Churches Together in January 2021.
“David’s contribution to the Queensland Synod, not only just in his time as Moderator but in his ministerial career, has been profound,” says Andrew.
“He has the prayers of the entire Uniting Church community and we wish him well as he strengthens ecumenical relationships in his new role.”