Standing Committee - April 2019 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.

Friday 5 April, 2019 - Synod office (Level 2, 212 Pirie Street, Adelaide)


Uniting Church SA Moderator Rev Sue Ellis welcomed Standing Committee members, with an Acknowledgement of Country. Leanne Davis led the devotions, which focused on Mary’s expression of worship when she used a priceless perfume to wash His feet.

Pastoral matters

The Moderator informed the meeting of the sudden passing during the week of Siti Roguimuri (Covenanting and International Relations Officer). She commiserated with the members of the Fijian community, the UCA SA Mission Resourcing team and Synod and Siti’s family. She also mentioned and prayed for several other people from the UCA community who has passed away since the last meeting.

Moderator’s social justice matters

The Moderator brought two social justice matters to the Committee for consideration. These included the SA Abortion Reform Bill which she plans to address through a pastoral letter to congregations; and a letter on nuclear waste disposal at Barndioota in the Flinders Ranges, which is also being worked on and will soon be distributed.

Pastoral Relations and Mission Planning Report

Acting Regional Minister, Rural and Remote, Bronte Wilson, and the Interim General Secretary, Rev Rob Brown, spoke to this report. They informed about changes to the criminal history check procedures. Rob also mentioned that several congregations are currently weighing up their position in the life of the church.

The meeting agreed to dissolve and cease to recognise Lucindale UC (as a result of declining attendance); to dissolve and cease to recognise Port Vincent UC from when the new entity had been separately incorporated and property matters are finalised; and to recognise the Northern Suburbs Dinka Speaking Faith Community as a Congregation of the UCA (from 5 April 2019).

Non Geographic Presbytery Task Group Report

Rev Barry Littleford spoke to the Non Geographic Presbytery Task Group report. He commented that the NGP task group is working closely with the Restructuring Task Group. He also explained that the proposed name “Generate” was chosen as it resonated with their younger members and proposed a forward-thinking outlook.

The meeting accepted the name. It was also agreed that Generate Presbytery will have representation on the Synod Property Committee as well as the Synod Placements Committee, and will have authorised access to the Synod database.

Restructuring Task Group Report

The Acting General Secretary Rev Rob Brown spoke to the Restructuring Task Group Report, saying that a letter would be emailed to congregations with information and instructions on how to notify the Synod regarding their choice of Presbytery. This email was sent on Monday, 8 April.

He mentioned that the 2019 Mission and Service Fund model will continue to be used this year for funding, until a new model is approved towards the end of the year. The meeting determined that another Standing Committee meeting will be held on Friday 3 May, to finalise proposals that need to be resolved prior to or at the June meeting of the Presbytery and Synod.

The meeting decided that two presbyteries will be formed at the Presbytery and Synod meeting in June, and that they will be named “Generate Presbytery” for the non-geographic presbytery and “The Transitional Presbytery of South Australia”, the latter being a temporary name, for congregations not allocated to the non-geographic presbytery. At the November meeting this second Presbytery will be dissolved to enable the formation of (probably) two geographic Presbyteries.

Congregations may continue to form informal networks for a variety of purposes but Mission Networks will no longer continue in their current form or funding model after 29 June, 2019. The Synod will take responsibility for the administration (HR processes, etc.) of paid positions in Mission Networks, which will cease by the end of November 2019.

UAICC Review

The Interim General Secretary spoke to proposals, brought to Standing Committee as a means of addressing correspondence received from Rev Mark Kickett.

The Meeting expressed regret that there have been points at which the Review process has been flawed particularly in respect to the Covenant relationship between UCASA and the UAICC SA Regional Council. Recommendations were referred to the SA Regional Council of the UAICC with appropriate resourcing from the SA Synod so that they might accept, amend or reject any of the recommendations.

The Covenanting Committee was requested to work out principles and processes about how we make decisions as First and Second peoples. The Moderator prayed and formally apologised to the SA Congress as a lament over miscommunications.

Interim General Secretary’s Report

The Interim General Secretary, Rev Rob Brown, spoke to his report. Rev Sue Page and Rev Philip Gardner have been co-opted into the Restructuring Task Group.

The General Secretary’s Liaison Group will work with Rev Felicity Amery. Rev John Hughes, Dr Peter Gunn and Elizabeth Megaw will be appointed to the Liaison Group with one further person to be added by the General Secretary herself.

Rev Nigel Rogers was removed as the nominating authority for the UCASA for authorisation of the nominations of marriage celebrants. Rev Felicity Amery was authorised in his place.

Associate General Secretary Report

The Associate General Secretary, Rev Sue Page spoke to her report. She recommended that the meeting appoint Rev Anne Hewitt, Rev Jessie Size, Gaynor Strapp, Rev Andrew Hogarth and Rev Lyn Leane to the UCASA Covenanting Committee. She also recommended that the Defence Force Chaplains Committee (SA) be disbanded, as per their request. She also informed about new by-laws and a constitution of Seaford Christian Churches.

UnitingCare Report

The Standing Committee appointed Mr Tim Chia to the Board of Lincoln College Inc and Ms Geraldine Malone to the Resthaven Inc. Board.

MLD Board Report

Acting Executive Officer, Rev Mark Schulz, spoke to the MLD Board Report. The meeting extended the position of Craig Bailey as Director of Leadership at the Uniting College for Leadership and Theology until 31 July 2024. Dr Mauro Meruzzi was also appointed to the position of Postgraduate Studies Coordinator for a period of five years from a date to be advised.

The minutes from the meeting have been posted here. An Extraordinary Meeting of the Standing Committee will take place on Friday 3 May, 2019.

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Standing Committee - June 2019 update

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