Synod Standing Committee Meeting Summary 9th April 2021

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A summary of the discussions, deliberations and decisions arising from the meeting of the Uniting Church in SA.

Welcome

Moderator Bronte Wilson commenced the Synod Standing Committee (SSC) meeting with a devotion from Isaiah 61:1-8 and Matthew 22. The Moderator reminded us as the Uniting Church that we seek justice; we reach out and support; we bring care and compassion, without judgement or reward. The Moderator also reminded SSC members of their responsibility to discern and wait on God, and to be led by the Holy Spirit.

The Moderator then welcomed the Synod Standing Committee meeting members with an Acknowledgement of Country, thereafter the Moderator prayed for pastoral concerns.

Mission and Leadership Development Board (MLDB) Report

MLDB Chair Jan Trengove spoke to her report, including the resignation of Rev Prof Dr Andrew Dutney from his position as the Principal of the Uniting College for Leadership and Theology (UCLT). In stepping down as Principal, Andrew will continue in a revised role as Executive Officer of Mission and Leadership Board (MLD) and of the Adelaide College of Divinity (ACD), and as a senior faculty academic. SSC members approved the establishment of a Joint Nominating Committee for Principal UCLT and noted that Rev Dr Christy Capper and Mr Craig Bailey will be Acting Principal UCLT for the remainder of 2021. New bylaws for MLDB were approved. The Moderator then led a prayer for this period of transition and thanked Andrew for his many years of service and leadership.

Moderator Nominating Committee (MNC) Report

Rev Rod Dyson and Alice Kroker presented the MNC report and all proposals including approval of the Moderator’s Role and Person Specification; approval of nominating and election process; approval of the Moderator Nomination Form by presbyteries; and endorsement of the nominating process timeline were all passed with consensus. It was also resolved that the term of the current Moderator be extended until the 2023 Synod meeting (date yet to be determined).

General Secretary’s Report

Following the February Synod Meeting decision, General Secretary Rev Felicity Amery spoke to her report about the status of the Synod Planning and Strategy (Mission and Property) Working Group establishment. The objective of this group is to develop a strategy and process plan that will further enable the Church to address the urgent issues raised in the Property Review Report: God’s Church and its Buildings – Are they fit for Mission?’ A list of potential member names was presented and SSC members were encouraged to bring forward names to each skills matrix category. The working group’s skills matrix and timeline were approved by SSC and the General Secretary was authorised to contact potential members who will commence meeting in early May.

Associate General Secretary’s Report

SSC additional meeting dates were approved (3rd December 2021, 11th February 2022, 1st April 2022, 6th May 2022) along with the appointment of members to the Moderator’s Support Group and to the General Secretary’s Liaison Group until the 2022 Synod meeting. Other items resolved by SSC included the re-appointment of Rev Bill Harris and the appointment of Val Canty and Gaye Brown to the UCA SA Historical Society Council, as well as the appointment of Adrian Nippress to the board of Morialta Trust Inc.

UnitingCare Report

SSC endorsed Mr Bruce Ind as the Chair of the Disability Royal Commission Synod Task Group and Mr Bruce Spangler as the Chair of the Council of Annesley College. Standing Committee members thanked Bruce Spangler and the Annesley College Council for their work in directing and leading the college. Other appointments to the Board of Lincoln College, Board of Uniting Communities, Board of UnitingCare Glenelg and council of Westminster School Inc. were approved by consensus.

Resources Board/Property Report

The Mission and Service Fund financial statements and the Workplace Health and Safety Incident report for the quarter ended 31 December 2020 were noted. The amendments to the Crisis Management Policy was also approved by SSC.

Placements and Safe Church Report

The Safe Church Audit conducted in 2020 arose out of the response to the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. It is a key means for collecting information on how well congregations understand their responsibilities for being Child Safe communities and whether they are meeting their obligations. SSC resolved to request participation of all congregations in an annual Child Safe Audit.

Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) Report

Rev Mark Kickett spoke to his report including highlights of SA Congress events. Mark also brought a proposal about the need for SA Congress to be granted with some Presbytery powers. SSC therefore approved the delegation of particular Presbytery responsibilities to UAICC SA including oversight of Ministers, oversight of Congregations, selection and oversight of candidates, and other wider work of the church (Regulations 3.1.3).

 


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