Tuesday morning’s Bible Study at the Synod meeting was led by Rev Dr Apwee Ting, one of three national consultants for the Uniting Church Assembly Resourcing Unit. Dr Ting chose “Following Christ, seeking community, compassion and justice” to reflect on how this part of the Synod’s mission statement could be lived out in a multicultural Church. He spoke of taking inspiration during his time as National Director for Multicultural and Cross Cultural Ministry when, over a period of two years, he visited more than 100 communities to learn their hopes and challenges. The communities were “warm in their love and commitment”.
Mr Ting said he had learnt that, as Christ’s followers, the Church doesn’t have any other choice but to embrace others. “Uniting means embracing difference, and Church being faithful to its own identity and calling.”
The focus for the Bible study was Ephesians2, 19-22, where Paul wrote that everyone is a fellow citizen with God’s people and a member of God’s household, including foreigners and strangers. Mr Ting encouraged those reading Ephesians that the heart of embracing difference is grace and that each new story that people tell gives hope and courage. He acknowledged that the grace of embracing difference was not always easy and that it was a constant negotiation, a holy struggle that can purify our motivation and will.
Mr Ting finished by encouraging the members of the Synod meeting to embrace difference in their conversations and to provide the space for telling stories that may have previously been unheard.
The moderator thanked Mr Ting in Indonesian at the end of the Bible Study.