An independent panel began its review of religious freedoms in Australia on 10 January 2018, and are accepting submissions from the public. This article includes further information about the review and a recent meeting of SA Christian leaders.
Standing Committee Meeting – December update
Posted in News
There were several fresh faces at the most recent meeting of the Standing Committee, which took place on Friday 8 December. The meeting began with a welcome to new members who were elected at the November Presbytery and Synod meeting. Each was provided with an opportunity to share a little about themselves – their passions, strengths and what they hope to offer during their service with the Standing Committee. New members were also advised of the responsibilities and requirements associated with being a Standing Committee member.
After a short devotion and pastoral prayer from Moderator Rev Sue Ellis, members moved into the business of the meeting.
CEO/General Secretary role
On Thursday 30 November, prior to the Standing Committee meeting, Rev Nigel Rogers announced that he would be stepping down as CEO/General Secretary of the Uniting Church SA. Discussions about transition processes and finding a new person for this role were a central part of the meeting.
Nigel spoke about his family’s call to return to Queensland and the decision to conclude his placement as CEO/General Secretary. (Read more about this decision here.)
Standing Committee passed by consensus the termination of Rev Nigel Rogers as CEO/General Secretary, at his own request, as of 14 January, 2018. Nigel was appointed to the position of Ex-CEO/General Secretary from 15 January to 12 March, 2018.
Rev Rob Brown was appointed to the position of Interim CEO/General Secretary from Monday 15 January. He will remain in this role until a new CEO/General Secretary commences placement. Responsibilities related to this role will be delegated from 31 March to 20 May, 2018, when Rob is on leave. Rob will not be able to hold both the role of Executive Officer, UnitingCare, and the Interim CEO/General Secretary role. As such, he will be stepping down as Executive Officer, UnitingCare, when he takes on the new role in mid-January (see more in the UnitingCare report section below).
Malcolm Wilson will have his contract as Associate General Secretary (Planning and Management) extended for an initial period of six months to help cover this transition period.
The Standing Committee agreed that work on the Uniting Church SA strategic plan would not be progressed during the transition period. In light of the decision, the current strategic plan was extended until 31 December, 2019.
Standing Committee also resolved to seek a person to fill the CEO/General Secretary placement, to begin at a date to be negotiated. A Joint Nominating Committee will be appointed at the February meeting of Standing Committee. Rev Diane Bury, Dr Deidre Palmer and Malcolm Wilson were appointed to oversee the process of appointing a new CEO/General Secretary and to ensure that it is undertaken in a timely manner.
Environmental Action Group
The Uniting Church SA Environmental Action Group was established as a reference group on environmental issues for Mission Resourcing. They have provided valuable support to staff working within the justice and advocacy area, and published a number of interesting articles on environmental responsibility and eco-theology in New Times.
Mission Resourcing has undergone several changes since the Environmental Action Group was formed, particularly as it joined with Uniting College to form the Mission and Leadership Development ministry centre. Through these changes, justice responsibilities have become part of the Public Theology and Mission Sub-Committee.
As a result of these changes, Standing Committee agreed to thank and discharge the Environmental Action Group. They also affirmed their ongoing work as an interest group within the life of the Presbytery and Synod.
A number of changes to the boards for different UnitingCare organisations were made, some new people were appointed and others were thanked as they concluded their service.
As Rev Rob Brown is stepping down from the Executive Officer position within UnitingCare, Chris Headland will be the Acting Executive Officer, UnitingCare, from the end of January as a new person is sought to fill the Executive Officer role.
Standing Committee resolved to endorse the process for the appointment of the Executive Officer, Uniting Care, from 1 July 2018 or earlier, and approved the revised position description for the placement of the Executive Officer. A Joint Nominating Committee for this placement was also appointed.
Other reports and decisions
Due to time constraints, some reports and decisions were deferred to the next Standing Committee meeting in February. The reports and items that were discussed covered a range of business areas, and included the recognition of three church communities.
The Adelaide Lai Christian Church was recognised as a Uniting Church congregation within the Presbytery and Synod of South Australia. Two churches formed as part of Generate 2021– Encounter Uniting Church and Mitcham Hills Uniting Church – were recognised as faith communities of the Uniting Church.
This brief update does not cover every single item discussed by Standing Committee. Please see the full Standing Committee meeting minutes for further information. Meeting minutes are available online here.
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