Christmas Message and New Position Announcements


It’s been a big 12 months!

We’re in December and I still can’t quite believe that. As I look back though, I am very aware of how much we’ve accomplished as Community of Christ in Australia this year.

Some highlights have been:

- Launching a new five-year Strategic Plan, and beginning to live into it

- Women’s retreats

- A WoW weekend in Victoria

- Several family, children’s and congregational retreats

- Several camps to support other community organisations

- A visit from our Apostle and our Presiding Bishop

- Sending a delegation of youth to IYF and Spectacular

- Introducing a new Lessee at Tiona

- A large and rewarding National Gathering

- Sending a delegation of leaders to the Pacific Field Gathering (Tu’ama) in Tahiti

- Launching the new designs for the Tiona Chapel

- Our second cruise reunion

- Hundreds of meaningful worship and fellowship experiences around the nation,

including many ordinations, baptisms and confirmations

- The largest response to Tiona Reunion in years, with over 200 registered!

The Spirit is moving!

Unfortunately, we’ve also experienced the tragedy of loss, sickness, and saying goodbye to many of our loved ones. All of these moments cause us to pause and reflect on the blessings we’ve received from those people and those gatherings over the years, which we will never forget.

A few weeks ago, we advertised two positions which were created after Helen’s decision to leave church employment. After careful analysis of the role she’s diligently fulfilled for 18 years, it was determined that there were two clear functions that could be filled independently. This, along with two specific directives from the Strategic Plan (Aspect 3, Objective 2 and Aspect 4, Objective 1) led us to believe that if we applied a more focused approach in both administration and communications (rather than having them in one role) it could yield a greater result for the church. We’ve also adjusted the time allocated to these positions, with the administrative assistant being 27.5 hours a week and communications coordinator being 10 hours per week. This may mean a shift in ‘office hours’ for the MC Office, with more information being communicated in the New Year.

With this in mind, I’d like to announce the following:

1. Emma Espinosa has been appointed as Administrative Assistant for the church, beginning January 14, 2019. She brings with her a wealth of experience in different fields of both administration and marketing. Having been a member of the church most of her life, she will also bring a sense of heritage, knowledge and heart to the role.

2. Anne Bonnefin has been appointed as Communications Coordinator, beginning January 14, 2019. Anne has been involved in many areas of the church’s life, currently serving on the Pastorate at Drummoyne, the WoW committee and the World Church Health and Wellness Team. She has extensive design and communications experience which will bring a new life to the way the church communicates with its members and the wider community.

We’re excited to welcome these two people onto the team and to see where this takes the church in the coming months. Please bear with us as we work through this transition.

I hope you have felt the Spirit in your life this year. I’m often reminded of how grateful I am to be leading this church in this nation, and how proud I am of the many disciples who offer themselves for ministry on a daily basis. I thank each of you for your continued passion for building the peaceable kingdom in your communities. The church survives on volunteers, and we could not do what we do without you. I’d also like to acknowledge each of the staff for your continued dedication. It’s not an easy job, but you continue to find ways to astound me with your zest and joy for the work that you do.

On a personal note, I will be taking leave from January 21, 2019 for 4 weeks to welcome the birth of Lana and my first child (assuming she arrives on time!). We will keep you in the loop as to those details. The MC Presidency is working on a solution for you to contact us should anything urgent come up while I am on leave, and to ensure the church is appropriately supported during that time. I’m very much looking forward to becoming a father, knowing it will test every part of me!

Have a safe and joyous Christmas!

Ben Smith

President, Australia Mission Centre