During July and August around 50 members of the Way Forward team and working groups devoted many hours to evaluating 60 submissions received from church members from across the LCANZ.

The submissions were assessed against key criteria set by the General Church Board (GCB) and the College of Bishops (CoB), including the extent to which they met the intent of the General Synod resolution for ‘one church with two ordination practices’.

‘This was not an easy process, as the working groups assessing the submissions consist of people with different experiences, backgrounds and views’, said Stella Thredgold, director of the Way Forward project. ‘But the effort was worth it, as the best outcomes are reached from the benefit of diverse perspectives.

‘The teams have worked together to discuss some challenging aspects and differing opinions, resulting in agreement through compromise, respect and openness. This shows that diverse views do not need to be an impediment to unity and commitment to a shared goal.’

Stella said that, overall, the submissions demonstrated a good understanding of the challenging issues confronting the church at this time and provided helpful insights and frameworks for how these issues might be addressed.

‘The team sends a heartfelt thankyou to everyone who contributed a submission and also to the many people who sent words of encouragement and suggestions for how the process could be improved’, she said. ‘Be assured that we are taking your feedback on board as we all work towards a united church in which people are respected as brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of their personal views on ordination.’

GCB and CoB met in person in mid-August, dedicating four hours to the Way Forward project, including reviewing progress to date and providing guidance and leadership for the next phases. They also noted that a pastoral care plan has been developed and that a major communication to congregations was planned for late September.

For more information go to: www.lca.org.au/wayforward

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