The Uniting Church in Australia Assembly is led by the President and General Secretary. We employ around 50 staff to run our agencies and carry out administration. The majority of our staff are based in Sydney but there are also staff based in Townsville, Brisbane, Melbourne and Canberra, as well as field workers throughout Australia and internationally. We function only through the generous time and energy of elected reference committees, working groups and volunteer workers.
President of the Uniting Church in Australia
Stuart McMillan is the third lay person in the history of the Uniting Church to be elected President of the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly. The others being Sir Ronald Wilson and Dr Jill Tabart.
Stuart was chosen as President-elect at the 13th Assembly in Adelaide in 2012. He succeeds Rev. Prof. Andrew Dutney.
Before being installed as President on 12 July 2015 Stuart served as the Moderator of the Northern Synod based in Darwin. He attributes his leadership style to the guidance received from the indigenous spiritual community - focusing on compassion, justice, love and grace. A stronger covenanting relationship with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) along with reaching out to the second generation of multicultural Australians are the challenges he sees ahead for the Uniting Church..
As an advocate for indigenous justice and serving in various agencies for indigenous people for over thirty years, Stuart has spoken out in opposition to such as the Stronger Futures legislation
His previous roles include General Manager of the Arnhem Land Progress Association, work as a Consultant for the Aboriginal Resource and Development Services Inc (ARDS), and as the Pastor, Living Water Church - Humpty Doo Parish in the Northern Synod.
As General Secretary, Ms Colleen Geyer serves with the President of the Uniting Church in Australia offering leadership and vision to the life of the Assembly.
Ms Geyer’s work for the Uniting Church and its agencies since 1995 has deepened her sense of call to the role of General Secretary, while embracing the uniqueness of the Uniting Church as an authentic movement of God.
She has held a range of significant positions at a state and national level of the Uniting Church, including Director of Mission at UnitingCare Queensland, Director of Mission at BlueCare, Associate Director at UnitingCare Australia, Registrar of Coolamon College and National Consultant for the Assembly Gospel and Gender Unit.
Ms Geyer seeks to strengthen the Uniting Church’s commitment to working ecumenically and foster understanding between churches. She has beena member of the Roman Catholic/Uniting Church Dialogue, the Christian World Service Coordinator with Queensland Churches Together, and a member of the Queensland Churches Together Indigenous Peoples Partnership.
Colleen believes we have a collective responsibility to look to the future with the hope that is from God, and the realism that calls us to think about the new.
Frontier Services, National Director
Ms Jackson comes to the National Director’s role with extensive experience in fundraising and marketing in the faith and nonprofit sectors, both in New South Wales and nationally.
Ms Jackson’s background includes senior leadership positions at the McGrath Foundation, the Children’s Hospital at Westmead and Mission Australia.
Christian Unity, Doctrine and Worship, National Consultant
Rev. Dr Chris Walker
Chris is currently serving the Assembly of the Uniting Church as the National Consultant Christian Unity, Doctrine & Worship. He has served in a range of positions and places in the Uniting Church including local church ministry in three congregations in NSW, as a regional education and mission officer, and consultant for evangelism and discipleship, in Queensland, as principal of Parkin-Wesley College in SA, and as a mission resource officer for Parramatta-Nepean Presbytery.
He has a passion for theology, mission and discipleship. His interest in writing has resulted in various publications including, Building on the Basis: Papers from the Assembly Working Groups on Doctrine and Worship 2000-2011 (MediaCom, 2012), Peace Like a Diamond: facets of peace (Spectrum, 2009) and Living Life to the Full: Spirituality for today’s baby boomers (Openbook, 2005).
Formation, Education and Discipleship, National Director
Craig Mitchell commenced a five year appointment in January 2014. Craig has worked for the Uniting Church for over 25 years in youth and children's ministry, Christian education, mission planning and leadership development. He was formerly on the faculty of Uniting College for Leadership and Theology and Flinders University.
He has qualifications in economics, youth and children's ministry, religious education, communication and vocational education. He is currently working on a PhD through Flinders University. Craig is based in Adelaide, South Australia.
UnitingWorld, National Director
Rob is the National Director of UnitingWorld. Previously he was the Associate Director for UnitingWorld Relief and Development. In this role he oversaw all of the relief and development programs UnitingWorld carries out with its overseas partners.
Rob is particularly passionate about providing rural and marginalised communities, and especially women, with opportunities to improve their livelihoods. Rob’s interest in community development was sparked during the seven years he and his wife Jacqui spent as Mission Co-workers for the Uniting Church in West Timor, Indonesia. During this time Rob taught at a Christian University and also worked as a consultant with a Christian Micro Finance Organisation, Tanaoba Lais Manekat.
Uniting Disaster Recovery, National Disaster Recovery Officer
Rev. Dr Stephen Robinson
Stephen’s role is “To develop resources, networks and support mechanisms to aid the ministry agents, congregations and agencies of the church to effectively respond to natural disasters across Australia.” Stephen has ministered in emergency contexts since 1996 as NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Chaplain and volunteer firefighter since 1996.
He oversees the NSW Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network (DRCN) under the Synod of NSW and the ACT which coordinates ecumenical chaplaincy in emergencies. Stephen’s Assembly role involves working with governments, synods, presbyteries and agencies to prepare for and respond to disaster. He is committed to peer support of ministry agents, best practice disaster recovery chaplaincy and well-integrated community recovery following disaster. He has written “Ministry in Disaster Settings: Lessons from the Edge”.
UnitingCare Australia, National Director
Claerwen has worked in the community sector for over 35 years and comes to UnitingCare Australia from Uniting in NSW/ACT where she has held senior executive roles in service delivery, advocacy and innovation across 25 years.
Claerwen has been responsible for establishing the research and advocacy capability of Uniting as well as leading a large and complex suite of programs for children, families, young people, communities and people with disability across NSW and the ACT.
She has sat on numerous high level Boards and is a current member of the UnitingCare Australia National Committee, a role she has filled for various periods since the 1990s. She is also the current Chair of the UnitingCare Australia Children, Young People and Families Network.
National Consultant for Multicultural and Cross Cultural Ministry
Rev. Dr Apwee Ting
Rev. Dr Apwee Ting was appointed National Director for Multicultural and Cross Cultural Ministry in July 2015.
He brings a strong understanding of what it means to be a multicultural church and to live out the Christian faith cross-culturally.
Apwee has been a member of the Assembly’s National Reference Committee for Multicultural and Cross Cultural Ministry for 12 years including three years as Chair (2006-2009). He also held a specific role of liaison with the Assembly’s Relations with other Faiths Working Group.
Apwee is a former Chairperson of the UCA’s Indonesian National Conference.
He completed his PhD in 2005 at STTIP Jakarta (Sekolah Tinggi Teologi International Philadelphia) with an examination of the topic ‘Cross Cultural Ministry is the fulfilment of missional mandate in the areas of Church Unity and Growth’.
Before his appointment, Apwee was a Minister of the Word at Dandenong Uniting Church in Victoria, in one of Australia’s most culturally diverse and multifaith communities. The congregation includes Fijian and Hindi speaking ministries and is also home to Christian communities whose cultural heritage is Arabic, Ethiopian and Cook Islands.
Born to Chinese migrants in Indonesia, Apwee migrated to Australia in 1989. He has a deep understanding of the UCA’s overseas church partnerships.