In May 1994 a Leader Fellowship Group was established consisting of the Anglican, Catholic, Uniting, Presbyterian, Assembly of God, Lutheran, Baptist and Reach Out for Christ communities. This group held monthly leaders’ breakfasts, discussed Religious Education in schools, and joined together in Christmas carol services and ecumenical worship services.
In November 1994 a Collaborative Ministers Fraternal was established consisting, at that time, of the St Mary’s Catholic Community Oxenford, the Parish of Biggera Waters Anglican Community, the Coomera/Pimpama/Helensvale Uniting Community and the Lutheran Community. From this group, through prayer, friendship, study and working together as much as possible, arose the vision of an ecumenical school at Coomera and, in time, a joint worship centre. The school was viewed as being mission and presenting a unified pastoral approach to ecumenism in the local area. However, the Lutheran Church was unable to be involved with the school at that time and place.
In February 1996 an Ecumenical Planning Group was commissioned, consisting of two representatives from each of the three participating churches – the Anglican, Catholic and Uniting Church communities. This group of six people established a core group based on a commitment to ecumenism, a unified belief in the Trinitarian God and a shared love of Christ. In their diversity, the Gospel message of Jesus was their unity. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the Ecumenical Planning Group planned worship services, Bible studies and fellowship gatherings. Friendships were formed across the various faith traditions. A monthly ecumenical prayer group met. Throughout this time, information was made available about the possibility of establishing a covenant between the participating Church communities.
An Ecumenical Vision and Preparation Team was commissioned at the same time as the Ecumenical Planning Group. The Vision and Preparation Team also consisted of two representatives from each of the participating faith communities. This group was responsible for collecting information from within Australia and overseas to explore possibilities of establishing a Local Ecumenical Leadership Council and to dialogue with the local Parish Councils, Clergy Group and Archdiocesan/Presbytery Commissions throughout the process. The Group handed down its final report in 1996.
From 1996 the participating churches were joined on their ecumenical journey by the Father’s Heart Apostolic Church.
In 1998 the Ministers’ Circle discussed partnership in the proposed Gaven Primary School and invited wider participation in this venture. This offer of participation is ongoing.
1999 saw the formation of the School Steering Committee involving the four local faith traditions of Anglican, Catholic, Father’s Heart Apostolic and Uniting Churches. The vision was becoming a reality!
During this time of journeying together: we have lived ecumenism. We respect each other’s traditions, while retaining our own tradition. We embrace diversity through dialogue and we do what we can together in unity. We seek to exercise our Spiritual Gifts to further God’s Kingdom in the community. We hold fast to that which is central to us all; our shared belief in Jesus Christ, his life, ministry, death and resurrection. We seek to proclaim the Gospel message in mission and unity to the wider community through the Jubilee Primary School.
(Lynette Dunn on behalf of Jubilee Primary School Steering Committee)