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Exciting times ahead at Victorian Council of Churches

“These are exciting times in the life of the VCC”, General Secretary Theo Mackaay said recently. “The review which was set up by the Executive early in 2011 reported at the beginning of this year and made some wide-ranging recommendations.”

“In particular, people are showing strong support for a more streamlined organisation with greater attention to function rather than form. There is still some way to go before we finalise the size and structure of the member church delegations, but we have certainly struck the right balance by reducing the possible overall size of the Assembly. We believe this will make the business sessions better managed and a more effective means of enabling the churches to meet, to confer and to pray,” Mr Mackaay said.

“A great deal of time is now going into talking to representatives of the member churches to test the recommendations against their expectations of the Council. I know the President, Ian Smith, is deeply appreciative of the conversations we are having.”

“We convened a special meeting of leaders of the member churches and were pleased that there were fifteen people in attendance. They gave us some very valuable insights into their thinking about the VCC and the way ahead.”

“The basis of the thinking of the Executive when looking at the review has been to place particular emphasis on the VCC as a place where churches can be in conversation.  There are many issues we share in common – allowing us to learn from each other. It is in our conversations that we discern the unity Christ prayed for. It is in our conversations that prayer and celebration arises,” Mr Mackaay said.

“And in our conversations we also discover our differences. Those should not dismay us, rather we should welcome the gifts that each tradition brings as its witness to the love of God in Christ.”

“People sometimes wonder why the VCC is silent on sensitive matters of social policy and issues in the media. Usually our silence is a reflection of the breadth of our diversity. This is particularly the case on some social policy matters. We would rather be silent, or explain our silence, than offend our member churches, and that is as it should be.”

“I am looking forward to further deliberations about the review, and the way forward for the VCC. The next twelve months will be very interesting,” Mr Mackaay concluded.
July 26, 2012