Who we are

Who we are

Churches of Christ in Queensland is a not for profit organisation active in the community for more than 130 years. We have a significant presence in Queensland, Victoria and Vanuatu with over 300 services in more than 100 communities. We operate a range of missional and community care services to assist families, the elderly and people in need through church communities, housing services and care service groups operated through Churches of Christ Care.

Our mission, vision and core values of modelling unconditional love, behaving with integrity and being good stewards underpin all we do.

 

Conference Council Update

Geoff Charles, Chair of Council and Conference President

135th Conference Council

‘Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown’ wrote George Shinn. The Apostle Paul agreed, “A huge door of opportunity for good work has opened up here. (There is also mushrooming opposition.)” 1 Cor.16:9 MSG.

God’s call, is always into the unknown, into the moving sea and the perfect storm. Churches are in a season of enormous challenges, with three Royal Commissions in various stages of completion. Long held societal values of life are collapsing. Church attendances are declining across most denominations. “No religion” is one of the fastest growing religions in Australia. Change and discomfort are inevitable.  However, in every threat, there is an opportunity.In every problem, a possibility. If God is in the house then there is always hope.

As Chair of Council, I warmly welcome you to our 135thannual gathering of the Conference of Churches of Christ in Queensland. We come together to celebrate God’s kingdom activity and to formally adopt our 2017-2018 report as member churches and delegates. Effective work is happening right across our churches and agencies. Great stories of lives touched with hope are in these pages. However, the social climate has become more complex and church life is not without substantial challenges.

Thankfully, our local churches have been stable and our caring services have continued to expand. We are making a difference in a number of areas. Lives are being impacted in our communities. We did create a turnaround effect under Dean Phelan (2009-2016). We breathed a new narrative into our story and with the Mission Team (now Church and Community Engagement team). We focused on a fresh approach to understanding Kingdom presence in all our caring agencies. Unfortunately, momentum has stalled and lost ground for churches in the last few years. We are now in the process of refreshing that strategic plan for 2019 -2024 with our new CEO Gary Edwards at the helm. These are crucial days requiring His Spirit and truth to empower this next generation.

National Redress is here already, seeking to offer compensation to survivors of childhood sexual abuse in religious institutions. Redress provides a more accessible and compassionate means of support to those affected and helps to rebuild trust within impacted communities. For some of our churches, they will be faced with long hidden, historic sexual abuse claims. These claims may be completely unknown to our current church leaders. Churches will be either prosecuted, in the near future, through the Courts or through a limited National Redress scheme.  

As a result of the Royal Commission, Conference Council is now moving away from the old PSU (Professional Standards Unit) to two groups: MEU (Ministry Ethics Unit for ministering persons) and HeaR (Healing and Redress for those affected). Implementation and activation of MEU and HeaR is still occurring. This AGM is vital for informing churches and leaders of those options. Which one is right for our organisation and local churches with autonomy? What is the Lone Institution or Participating Group models? Do we opt in or opt out as local churches? Council is carefully weighing the alternative proposals and inviting your comments at this AGM.

I commend Council members for their wisdom as Conference between Conferences. Nominations were received and endorsed last AGM for Geoff Runge (Sanctuary Park), Vicki Marney (Toowoomba North), Kevan Denny (Sunnybank) and David Taylor (Rivers now Redcliffe). I acknowledge the valuable contribution of retiring councillors, Chris Downes (Silverdale) and Stephen Nixon (Kingaroy).  

We welcome the leadership of our new CEO Gary Edwards, a previous director since 2010 and Chair of Board since 2013. Gary has tirelessly and competently guided the organisation through some expansive moments. He was the previous Chair of Board, Chair of Finance and Infrastructure, Chair of Nominations committee, Chair of Housing Services during 2017-2018. I am pleased to now commend him to our member churches as the new CEO.

We wish to acknowledge the work of CEO Dr Paul Scully that concluded 12 July 2018. By mutual agreement between the Board of Churches of Christ in Queensland and Paul Scully, it was agreed that Paul’s role would not be extended beyond his current probationary term. We thank Paul for his service to Churches of Christ in Queensland, and wish him well in his future endeavours. We also acknowledge the conclusion of directorship of 6 years by Steven Muller in June 2018 as Chair of Governance and Risk.

 Perfect storms are not new.  Jesus had the authority to sleep through a storm. He could calm the storm because there was no storm within him. “Where he dwelt, there were no storms, just the love of the Father”wrote Pat Hegarty. I invite you in a world of accelerating disruption, to not lose sleep or sight of a good God. Jesus is building his kingdom influence through us, through you.

Open doors. Effective work. Many barriers. Mushrooming opposition. These are the expected realities of life and Christian ministry. God is never out of options in our 135thyear of ministry to our State and Nation. Jesus will build his Church. His kingdom is here.

May the blessing of the peace of God, be upon us all.

Geoff Charles.

Board Update and Chief Executive Officer's Report

But he’s already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women.  It’s quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbour, be compassionate and loyal in your love, and don’t take yourself too seriously – take God seriously” Micah 6:8 (The Message)

Churches of Christ in Queensland delivers a diverse breadth of services, church and community engagement activities. It has been a year of change, exceptional activity and achievement of many key milestones. This is the result of the dedication and hard efforts by many. We have much to celebrate from this past year, and a great deal to look forward to as we strive to fulfil our key mission of “bringing the light of Christ into our communities”.

CEO Appointment
I was delighted and honoured to accept the appointment of Chief Executive Officer to Churches of Christ Qld on 1st September 2018, following Dr Paul Scully’s departure from the organisation in July 2018.

I subsequently stepped aside as Board Chair, having been in that position for six years, and welcomed Ken Ewald, a longstanding Board Member, to the role of Chair. Together we will endeavour to continue our organisation’s remarkable journey working alongside the full Council, Board, Senior Leadership Team and all others involved with Churches of Christ in Queensland.

As an organisation we appropriately honoured and said farewell to two senior Churches of Christ in Queensland executives: Chief Operating Officer, David Swain and our Executive Officer of Communications, Desley Millwood.  We thank them  for their outstanding passion, commitment and energy over the years.

Our work

This year we have continued to acquire new properties, as well as develop and enhance existing ones - all have been developed around our key integrated community model of care. This has included undertaking the official opening of our Kurrajong Townhouses at Kallangur, commencing new Housing apartments at Hillcrest, continued construction of our new campus at Warwick (which opened in September) and expanding our aged care service at Stanthorpe. We also saw commencement of Stage 1 of our 20 year plan for re-development on our Gold Coast site with construction underway for a new retirement living complex at Lady Small Haven Retirement Village in Benowa. 

We are currently on track to open our Little Mountain Campus (Meridan) on the Sunshine Coast in early 2019, and a new aged care development at Boonah.  We also welcomed two aged care services to our organisation this year - Mortimer Aged Care Service in Acacia Ridge and Palms Aged Care Service in Ingham.

In August 2017 our Council and Board experienced first-hand the work being undertaken by our churches and care services on a tour of Far North Queensland, all of which are rising to meet community needs.

Over this past year we have engaged in the Commonwealth Redress Scheme, our Reconciliation Action Plan (Phase 2), Business Excellence Framework and organisational risk and contracts management as well as placing within our organisational structure a new Church & Community Engagement Team and Leadership & Culture Team.

Organisational Review

Our organisational structure was reviewed June 2018.  Large organisations such as ours continually have to re-align, re-structure and change in order to ensure our sustainability and viability. As part of the restructure we created a new Church and Community Engagement team and a Leadership and Culture team. We believe this will help us to fulfil our mission and best position us for growth as we boldly and parayerfully move forward.

Strategic Plan 2019 – 2024

Much emphasis has been placed on reviewing and building on our current strategic plan and, after listening to the learnings and insights from our church communities, staff, services, partners, Board and Council, we are nearly ready to embark on our 2019 – 2024 Strategic Plan.   I look forward to sharing this with you.

The Churches of Christ in Queensland journey is a privileged, exciting and rewarding road to walk for each and every one of us.  For all who have gone before us, and for those who continue, or come after us - Christ must always remain our inspiration and at the heart of all we do.

 

God Bless,

Gary Edwards

Chief Executive Officer
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

God Bless,

Gary Edwards
Chief Executive Officer