Our structure in SA
In the Uniting Church in Australia there are four main inter-related council governance structures: the congregations, the presbyteries (usually a regional designation), the synods (state) and the Assembly. How these councils are expressed varies from state-to-state.
In South Australia, the Presbytery and Synod is a single council which provides governance and support for the wider church in SA. This council has two main functions which differ according to the responsibilities as set out in the Constitution and Regulations of the Uniting Church in Australia (hereafter called the Regulations). The two functions of the Presbytery and Synod are:
Presbytery: A presbytery is a council of the Uniting Church which has oversight of congregations, ministry and programs within a region. Notably the placement of ministers, establishment, amalgamation and disbanding of congregations and support of congregational life are all part of the Presbytery’s role. All of South Australia is currently organised as a single Presbytery with additional congregational support and resourcing being offered by Mission Networks. Other states may have several Presbyteries.
The Presbytery has responsibility for “oversight over the congregations within its bounds, encouraging them to strengthen one another’s faith, to bear one another’s burdens and exhorting them to fulfil their high calling in Christ Jesus.” It is also called to “promote those wider aspects of the work of the Church committed to it by the Synod or Assembly”. Basis of Union para 15 (c). headed by the Chairperson
Synod: Each state in Australia has a state-wide council known as a Synod. The role of the Synod is to support community services, mission planning, theological education and administration relating to finance, property and resourcing.
The Synod has responsibility for the ‘general oversight, direction and administration of the Church’s worship, witness and service’ in our region [Basis of Union Para 15 (d)] and exercises ‘executive, administrative, pastoral and disciplinary functions over the Presbyteries’ (Constitution clause 32).
headed by the Moderator
The Presbytery and Synod of South Australia, currently meets two times a year at Adelaide West Uniting Church in Brooklyn Park (near Adelaide Airport). These meetings provide a time for representatives from Uniting Church congregations and faith communities across the state to gather in community for worship, resourcing and business matters. Whilst only Presbytery and Synod members can vote, anyone is welcome to attend.