Standing Committee Meeting – April 2018 update

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New Times online features brief summaries of Standing Committee meetings to inform the wider Uniting Church SA community of the discussions, deliberations and decisions arising from each meeting.

This update refers to the April meeting of the Standing Committee, which took place in the Synod office (Level 2, 212 Pirie Street, Adelaide) on Friday 20 April, 2018



Uniting Church SA Moderator Rev Sue Ellis welcomed Standing Committee members at the Friday 16 February meeting. 

After devotions led by Bruce Ind, Sue prayed for those experiencing the loss of loved ones. A special welcome was given to Rev Mark Schultz, the new Team Leader for Mission Resourcing, and to Associate General Secretary (Planning and Management) Malcolm Wilson, who was standing in for Interim CEO/General Secretary Rev Rob Brown. Malcolm has increased his FTE from 0.8 to 1.0 to cover the Interim General Secretary Rev Rob Brown while he is on leave. Rob returns on Monday 21 May, 2018.


Interim CEO/General Secretary report

Malcolm Wilson presented the Interim CEO/General Secretary report. He advised that the Joint Nominating Committee (JNC) continues to work through the Executive Officer, UnitingCare SA, placement process after a second round of advertising closed on Monday 12 March.

The General Secretary role is still being advertised locally and nationally, and a commencement date for the new General Secretary is set for 1 August, 2018. Applications for the role close on Monday 30 April. Rob Stoner has been appointed as the JNC Facilitator for the appointment of the new General Secretary.

There have been some changes to SA Synod representatives for the 15th Assembly to be held from 8-14 July, 2018. Rev Rob Brown will now attend as an ex-officio representative instead of an elected ordained representative. Rev Mark Schultz is now unavailable to attend. Jesse Size will attend an as ordained elected represented. Geoff Telfer and Bruce Ind are the elected lay members who will fill the recent vacancies.

The Interim CEO/General Secretary and Moderator have organised a gathering of elected members on Friday 22 June at Uniting College for Leadership & Theology. The meeting will include a brief discussion regarding agenda items and information for people who have not previously attended an Assembly meeting.


Change of mission network

The Standing Committee resolved to recognise Naracoorte Uniting Church as a member of Hope Network. Naracoorte Uniting Church was formally a member of 3D Mission Network.


Ordination of Linda Forsyth and Diane Holden

The Standing Committee resolved to ordain Linda Forsyth and Diane Holden as Ministers of the Word in the Uniting Church in Australia.

Business Committee are planning an opportunity at the June Presbytery and Synod meeting for these ordinands to be presented to members and upheld in prayer.


Committee appointments and vacancies

The members of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse SA Synod Task Group were thanked and discharged. Rev Philip Gardener was appointed as the SA representative on the National Task Group.

Rev Linda Driver was appointed as the South Australian representative on the Uniting Leaders Project Task Group and the Uniting Leaders Conference Task Group (replacing ex-CEO/General Secretary Rev Nigel Rogers). 

Peter Gunn was appointed as the Convenor to the Moderator’s mid-term review committee. Leanne Davis and Sean Weetra were also appointed to the committee, along with three other suggested names (subject to consent).

There were appointments for the Moderator-Elect Nominating Committee. These include: Malcolm Wilson (Chairperson) and a number of additional names (subject to consent). A total of five people are required.

Following the resignation of Rev Ernest Sorenson and Rev Rob Williams in October last year, more representatives are being sought for the Synod Ecumenical Relationships Committee (SERC). It was acknowledged that the Uniting Church SA is now being under represented on the SERC, the RC-UCA (Roman Catholic Church – Uniting Church in Australia) Dialogue Committee and the South Australian Council of Churches.


Uniting Aboriginal and Christian Congress (UAICC) Report

Ross Honey addressed the meeting to outline the work he is undertaking towards a sustainable budget for the UAICC in 2018 and beyond. Challenges earlier in the year have included costs associated with the Congress National Conference and the number of funerals in far norther communities.

In March this year, a group of First and Second Peoples from the Uniting Church of Canada came to SA as part of a reciprocal visit Congress made to Canada in July last year. From all reports, the time spent on country was the highlight of their visit to Australia.

The Standing Committee passed two proposals relating to the UAICC: that an updated budget will be provided to the June Standing Committee meeting (1 June, 2018), and a request for the UAICC to implement structures and practices that will support financially sustainable outcomes. Both proposals were passed by consensus.


National Royal Commission Task Group

Rev John Cox (Executive Officer for the National Royal Commission Task Group) provided a brief on the National Response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. A National Engagement and Response Task Group was established by the Assembly Standing Committee to respond to redress for survivors.

The National Task Group has been looking at the most effective ways to address redress. This includes a proposal for the establishment of a Public Company Limited by Guarantee to be formed to act as the legal entity to “opt in” to the Commonwealth scheme.

Each Synod will need to decide if they want to be part of a national entity. A telephone hook-up is scheduled for 23 May to move forward with this proposal and other items related to redress.


Resources Board Report

Peter Battersby (Executive Officer, Resources) presented the Resources Board report. He outlined the different avenues the Resources Board has investigated to obtain funds for the Mapoon Appeal. Unfortunately, it was not possible to make a financial contribution to this appeal through the avenues investigated. Rev Mark Schultz offered for Mission Resourcing to look at ways to raise funds for the Mapoon Appeal and bring a proposal back to the next meeting of the Standing Committee. Peter also highlighted there was $150,000 set aside to invest in diversity within the Uniting Church SA. This money will sit within Mission Resourcing and Mission & Leadership Development.

The Synod Committee also approved Alice McCleary to be eligible for re-election to the Resource Boards even though the By-law requires her to retire. The Standing Committee felt it was appropriate and beneficial for Alice to re-nominate.


Child Safe Policy document

The Standing Committee resolved to receive the Child Safe Policy Document. This single, concise document will be provided to Church Councils for sign off or to adapt to their own church situation. It was also resolved that the Safe Church Committee bring a proposed plan to educate congregations to build informed compliance as they adopt the Child Safe Policy document.


House International Church

A proposal to dissolve House International Church from 21 April, 2018, was presented and passed by consensus.

The next Standing Committee update will be provided after the June meeting, which is scheduled for Friday 1 June.


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