Fresh Encounter – Sth Qld District Conference

On 3-4 October, Wesleyans from across the South Queensland District gathered at Hills Wesleyan in Brisbane for our 37thannual District Conference. The theme of the Conference was ‘Fresh Encounter’. We came to seek a fresh encounter with God, and to determine His direction for the South Queensland Wesleyan Methodist Church for 2020 and beyond.

Rev. Rex Rigby, National Superintendent and District Superintendent, South Queensland District, opened the Conference with a devotional on encountering God, based on the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11. Mrs Ruth Thomas, CEO of World Hope International (Australia), brought the Friday morning devotion on 2 Kings 6:1-7, about Elisha and his student prophets faithfully following God’s calling.

Rev. Dr Clint Ussher was our keynote speaker. Clint, originally from LifeChurch, Maryborough, is currently lead pastor of The Well Wesleyan Church in Christchurch, New Zealand. On Thursday night, Clint preached on the lies that hold us hostage, based on John 10:10. On Friday night, Clint preached on lunch … actually on the woman at the well in John 4, who had a life-changing encounter with Jesus, which the disciples missed because they were worried about lunch! Clint challenged us to open our eyes and see what the Father is doing, and get on board with that.

Delegates had opportunity to attend seminars and group discussions during Conference. Seminar topics included Preparing Your Church for Growth (Rev. Rob Simpson), Intuitive Wisdom in Leadership (Rev. Dr Clint Ussher), and Prayer (Warwick Stone). Themed group discussions were facilitated by Pastor Steve Van der Poel (small groups), Pastor Caleb and Grace Maple (youth) and Nathan and Bek Cruz (children’s ministries).

Rev. Dr Lex Akers, Assistant National Superintendent and District Superintendent, New South Wales District, chaired the business sessions. The District is doing well, with forty-three churches in total, plus new preaching points at Blackbutt and Home of Christ (Nambour). Oxley Samoan is a new work this Conference year. Sadly, Emmanuel Burmese, Waterford Samoan and Freedom Revival closed during the year. Our Multiplying Churches fundraising target is $20 000 for the Conference year, to be split $5 000 each for Hesed Grace and Home of Christ, and the remaining $10 000 to be for Divine Grace (Darwin) and their preaching point, Messiah Walkabirrimirri Fellowship (Ramingining, Arnhem Land).

Most of our office-bearers remain unchanged, with the exception of Robyn Knight (LifeChurch), who was elected as District Missions Co-ordinator. Congratulations Robyn!

From the Stationing Sheet, Axis, Logan and Nambour churches will welcome new pastors in 2020: Johnathan Schroder (Axis), David Grounds (Logan) and Scott Lucas (Nambour). Kilcoy, ThreeSixteen and Valley Tongan Churches are in the hands of the District Superintendent. Goombungee is in the hands of the Darling Downs-South Burnett Zone Supervisor.

Warwick and Cooloola have been reclassified as preaching points of Toowoomba and Gympie respectively. Toowoomba and LifeChurch have added Rev. Steve Simpson (Toowoomba) and Assistant Pastor Caleb Maple (Lifechurch) to their pastoral teams

In closing the Conference, we were privileged to witness the ordinations of Revs Ruth Liao (Hesed Grace), Mychel Farmer (LifeChurch), Scott Griffith (Gayndah), Scott Lucas (Nambour) and Jay Knight (Lifechurch). Rev. Steve Simpson (Toowoomba) was recognised as an ordained minister on transfer from another denomination, while Pastor Sunia Lea’aetalofo’ou (Wavell Heights Tongan) was recognised as a commissioned minister. Our congratulations and prayers are with these brothers and sisters and their families as they begin the new ministry adventures God has for them.

Thanks to Pastor Nathan Bell and the team at Hills Wesleyan for hosting the Conference, and to all Conference personnel for facilitating ‘Fresh Encounter’.

Respectfully submitted

Deb Kuss

Conference Reporter.