Synod of South Australia

The Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) is governed by a range of non-hierarchical and inter-related councils which each have responsibility for various functions and roles within the church.

The role of each Council of the Church is described in the Uniting Church in Australia’s Constitution and explained in the Regulations.

These begin at the local, or congregational level, then go to the regional (Presbytery) and state (Synod) bodies to the national council (Assembly). So, the UCA is made up of all the synods, presbyteries and congregations of the UCA.  Every congregation belongs to a presbytery, and all presbyteries belong to a synod, which are generally state-based (although the Northern Synod is made up of the northern part of WA, SA & part of QLD as well as the NT; and there is the Synod of Victoria & Tasmania and the Synod of NSW & ACT ).

Each synod is made up of a different number of presbyteries. Most synods have multiple presbyteries, and these are generally geographically based.

Here are a few brief explanations of the structures of the UCA:

The Congregation is the local expression of the church who worship, witness and serve as a fellowship of the Spirit in Christ, meeting together regularly to hear God’s Word and celebrate the sacraments, to build one another up in love and service to the world.

The Presbytery exercises oversight of the life and mission of the congregations in the area committed to it, and shall stimulate and encourage congregations to participate in the life and mission of the wider church. The Presbytery is responsible for the selection of candidates and placement and pastoral oversight of ministers in the congregations in its bounds. Ministers and lay representatives of each congregation form the Presbytery.

The Synod has general oversight, direction and administration of the Church’s worship, witness and service within its bounds.  It exercises executive, administrative, pastoral and disciplinary functions over the Presbyteries within its bounds. Ministers and lay representatives from each Presbytery form the Synod in session.

The Assembly has determining responsibility in matters of doctrine, worship, government and discipline, including the promotion of the Church’s mission, the establishment of standards for theological education, and is empowered to make final decisions on all matters committed to it by the Constitution of the UCA. Membership of the Assembly representatives of each Presbytery and Synod.