Dear friends in Christ,

A diverse group of Uniting Church members and ministers gathered in Cairns over the weekend to relinquish being the Calvary and North Queensland Presbyteries and be commissioned as a new presbytery—the Carpentaria Presbytery.

It was a wonderful time of thanksgiving and reflection, and a time of being excited about the future of the new Presbytery. Determined by Synod Standing Committee in December 2019, the joining of significant parts of our church in a new presbytery is a genuine step towards reconciliation for the Uniting Church in Queensland. The Carpentaria Presbytery will provide additional capacity and governance structures to help implement mission initiatives and increase engagement between First and Second Peoples.  First Peoples in North Queensland who are not part of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) will have opportunities to engage with the members of the former Calvary Presbytery. Leaders of the communities of the Cape and the Gulf have expressed strong support for this new venture.

The national UAICC will now engage with the Synod to consider what the future presence of the UAICC might look like in Queensland.

Six congregations that were part of the Calvary Presbytery are now part of the Carpentaria Presbytery, along with all congregations who were part of the North Queensland Presbytery. Related, the former Calvary Presbytery congregation at Zillmere is now part of the Moreton Rivers Presbytery, providing them with the support and resources that they need in order to deliver mission to the members of their congregation.

Rev Garry Hardingham and Rev Christy Allen have been appointed as interim Presbytery Ministers.   Both Garry and Christy have been successful in similar roles within the North Queensland Presbytery, with Garry also acting as the Calvary Presbytery Minister since mid-2019.

I would like to extend my sincere thanks to those who have been involved in both presbyteries to date and have been ready to give up their cherished identity as Calvary and North Queensland Presbyteries. Rev Dennis Corowa, who up until last year was the Calvary Presbytery Minister, has demonstrated wonderful leadership with more than thirty years of ministry experience. His understanding and wisdom will continue to be of great value to the Carpentaria Presbytery as Chair of the Calvary Zone, one of four zones in the new presbytery.

Please lift up this new Presbytery in prayer as it seeks to be a faithful steward of the gospel.

With you in the ministry of Christ,

Rev David Baker
Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod