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Our Structure

The Uniting Church is governed by four non-hierarchical, inter-related councils, each with different responsibilities:

  • Congregational (local)
  • Presbytery (regional)
  • Synod (state)
  • Assembly (national).

Congregation

A congregation is a community which comes together for regular weekly worship. While each congregation is different they are united in their aim to, with God, embrace all people. This is demonstrated by having an “open table” for Holy Communion where all people who have been baptised are invited. Our congregations also welcome children for baptism and divorcees who wish to re-marry.

Presbytery

Each Synod contains a number of presbyteries, or regional bodies, responsible for a group of congregations based on their geography. Presbyteries are responsible for selecting and placing ministry candidates.

The Synod Victoria and Tasmania is divided into eight presbyteries:

Click here for presbytery contacts.

Synod

There are six Synods in Australia:

Our Synod meets every 18 months and comprises about 400 ministers and lay people drawn from across Victoria and Tasmania.

Assembly

The national Assembly meets every three years and is chaired by President Deidre Palmer. The President has a fixed three-year term.

The Assembly Standing Committee meets three times a year. Its 18 members include ordained and lay members, and representatives from all states and territories.

 


Our governance

Moderator

This role is far-reaching and includes representing the Synod on public issues, providing pastoral leadership, and visiting congregations, agencies and schools.

A new moderator is elected every three years. The current moderator is Rev Sharon Hollis.

General Secretary

The General Secretary acts as the Synod’s executive officer and provides general leadership, including:

  • acting as the liaison officer between the presbyteries and other bodies
  • implementing the Synod’s strategic directions
  • providing pastoral oversight and coordination in all processes related to the placement of deacons, lay pastors, ministers of the word and youth workers
  • facilitating the handling of complaints.

The General Secretary’s five-year term can be renewed. The current general secretary is Rev Dr Mark Lawrence.

 


Our Committees

Synod Standing Committee

This committee is something like a Board and ensures the Synod’s work continues between ordinary meetings of the Synod itself.

Twelve members are elected at the Synod meeting. Ex-officio members of the committee are the Moderator, Ex-Moderator, Moderator-Elect, General Secretary, and two representatives of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress. There are also non-voting attendees.

The committee meets between six and 12 times a year. It has two major sub-committees – the Ministry & Mission Committee and Property & Operations Committee – enabling it to focus less on operational matters and more on visioning, strategy and governance.

Its members are:

  • Rev Stan Clarke
  • Helen Collins
  • John Diprose
  • Ron Gowland
  • Anna Harrison
  • Rev Graeme Harrison
  • Dr Jessica Hateley-Browne
  • Rev Carlynne Nunn
  • Lindsay Oates
  • Jen Shields
  • Rev Sani Vaeluaga

 

Ministry & Mission Committee

Its purpose is to ensure that activities of Synod-based ministries and Synod operations focus on the Synod’s missional and strategic directions.

The equipping Leadership for Mission Unit implements most of this work. The M&MC meets monthly and it consists of:

  • four members of Standing Committee
  • six members appointed by the Standing Committee
  • the General Secretary as an ex-officio member

Its members are:

  • Rev Graeme Harrison (chairperson)
  • Anna Harrison
  • Matthew Julius
  • Rev Dr Mark Lawrence
  • Rev Fa’amata’u Leota
  • Lindsay Oates
  • Rev Alexandra Sangster

 

Property & Operations Committee

This committee develops the creativity and expertise to identify and obtain resources that can achieve the Synod’s strategic and missional objectives.

The Mission Resourcing Unit implements most of this work. The P&OC meets monthly and its members consist of:

  • four members of Standing Committee
  • five members appointed by Standing Committee
  • the General Secretary and Synod Property Officer as ex-officio members

Its members are:

  • Rev Stan Clarke (chairperson)
  • John Diprose
  • Helen Geard
  • Ron Gowland
  • Rev Dr Mark Lawrence
  • Jim Milne
  • David Rowe
  • Ken Tabart
  • Robert Turner
  • Roland Wierenga