Tuggeranong Uniting Church is the latest congregation to receive a Synod growth grant.
The congregation’s project, ‘Going further – More Spaces’ aims to help Tuggeranong Uniting Church become a regional hub for the Tuggeranong Valley area.
Rev. Elizabeth Raine is the Minister at Tuggeranong. She told Insights the congregation aimed to, “develop ourselves as a people of spiritual, biblical and theological nourishment, of rest, hospitality and discipleship as followers of Jesus in new and different ways.”
“Recent Inter-generational services have attracted new young families to our services, and an increase in the participation of children,” Rev. Raine said.
“We believe that through increased engagement with young families, that we can build on our current growth trends and create experiences of church at different times and places which resonate with a great variety of people.”
“Our leadership team believes our growing connections with young families is providing them age-appropriate worship that is meaningful and pathways to connect with faith and the gospel. Many have rejected the teaching of the more conservative churches in our area and have sought us out as a church interested in justice issues, climate change, and inclusivity.”
As a community deeply committed to being an open and affirming safe space for LGBTIQ+ people and allies, Tuggeranong hopes that their “Rainbow Christian Alliance” will be equipped and resourced to be able to develop and nurture growth experienced over 2020-21.
“Canberra has a higher proportion of same-sex couples than any other city according to the ABS and TUC offers a safe space for the many Christian LGBTQI people who report poor experiences with churches and Christianity in general,” Rev. Raine said.
“The NCLS and latest McCrindle Report identified people are much more likely in a COVID era to explore their spirituality and discuss questions around religion. They are quite prepared to converse with their local churches. TUC believes it is already meeting this need and it is important to continue to do so.”
“We are seeing multiple growth opportunities through the connections we are making with the local community and through the connections the local community is making with us.”
Tuggeranong Uniting Church’s application secured funding for a 50 percent minister or deacon to work with the church’s Rainbow community and young families, to nurture and continue to grow these groups, and to enable them over time to participate in full leadership of the church.
Rev. Raine said that the process of applying for the grant was, “extremely thorough” and that both the EOI and the application process, “required a high level of detail and research.”
“We also had to ensure what we were proposing was sustainable financially and realistic in its objectives,” she said.
James Ellis is the Convenor of Tuggeranong Uniting Church’s Rainbow Christian Alliance community.
Mr Ellis said that the announcement of the grant was met with, “Excitement that the dreaming and visioning now has a way to become reality.”
“That the work we have put into growing the congregation thus far will be able to be sustained and go on some new paths,” Mr Ellis said.
“Tuggeranong Uniting Church is such a vibrant and diverse community.”
“From the moment I walked through the front doors in 2019, I knew this would be my new home. We’re a bunch of people that aren’t afraid to take risks and give anything a go. We wear our beliefs on our sleeves and show that we mean what we preach.”
“It’s great to see the Synod invest in mission and growth at the coalface of the church. Key to success will be strong partnerships between congregation, presbytery, and Synod to reach the goals set. “
The Synod growth fund is the way that local congregations can access the Future Directions resourcing framework.