Assembly Update August 2008

The latest edition of Update is now available online and in PDF format. It includes the latest news from our Agencies and Working Groups as well as Uniting Church resources.

 

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Just a Thought 
Assembly Standing Committee
UnitingJustice Australia
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Uniting International Mission
Frontier Services
UnitingCare Australia
Positions Available
Books and Resources

Just a Thought

From: Terence Corkin
Assembly General Secretary

At the recent meeting of the Assembly Standing Committee a great deal of time was spent looking at various issues around the constitution. To some this kind of conversation is as dry as dust. Some readers may choose to stop reading at this point, but I ask you to bear with me.

Some of the constitutional discussions included:

• Changes to Clause 39 that will allow Presbyteries and Synods to require more consultation before the Assembly can act on a decision;
• Changes to the way the membership of the ASC is appointed so that co-options are possible and that the Presbytery of Tasmania is always certain to have a member on the ASC;
• The way the Assembly is appointed and whether the historic weighting given to different synods in the membership of the Assembly should continue. There is also the question of how to deal with the fact that two synods now only have one Presbytery in them. This means that under current regulations they are only entitled to two appointments from those Presbyteries, which would reduce the members drawn from those synod areas quite significantly.
• The nature of the preamble and the way it fails to acknowledge the first peoples of this land and that the context for our ministry as a church is as latecomers to indigenous land with all the history that goes with that. How does our Constitution play a role in reminding us of our story and place?
• Our relationship with the Congress requires that we continue to work with the way in which the wider church enables higher levels of self-determination for Congress within a framework of partnership and interconnectedness. Changes to Clause 49 are being considered that, in the present form, would recognise Congress as a Council of the Church.

 

Constitutions are values-bearing documents. No law is values free and that goes for the Church’s law too. So the question in all of this is: what are the practices of Christian community that the UCA believes are important for us, precisely because they reflect the values and commitments that God has led us to believe in? In respect to the matters noted above we could opt to go in either direction — but that decision should be founded on a sound theological (values) base. When the debates happen, please have your theological reflections at hand.

Space does not permit a thorough commentary on the values that are embedded in the constitutional discussions noted above. I invite you, preferably with others, to have a conversation around this question: what are the values that shape our practices as a church? (And this could be a much wider discussion than just on the Regulations and Constitution.)

News from the Assembly Standing Committee

The Constitution

Will changing the Constitution change the nature of the Uniting Church?

Chris Budden reported from the Task Group looking at the Constitution. He said, “We’re facing challenges to our identity across the life of the church. We’re trying to review the Constitution in response to the challenges. We’re in a different mission context [than when the Constitution was written] so do we need to change our structures accordingly?”

The conversation around the Constitution, as with previous ASC meetings, was lengthy, with many more questions raised than answers given. Examples of the questions – in relation to changing the constitution – are:

• Does this help keep us open to the mission of God?
• Does this feed the flexibility of the church?
• Does this keep us involved in the wider community?
• Should we leave the constitution as is, and just make minor amendments?
• Who should be involved in making any changes?
• Do we go ahead with a revision of the Preamble?
• What is our set of practices, our commitments, our ways of being that makes us the UCA?

With so many questions to be answered, the Task Group was asked to continue work, particularly on the Preamble and Clause 49 of the Constitution, in consultation with the UAICC, and bring that work to the November meeting.

Regulations review

Different people have drafted different sections of the UCA Regulations. Indeed, there are very significant stylistic variations that give evidence of its history! While this in itself is not a major issue, the General Secretary reported to the ASC that there was an increasing level of redundancy in the Regulations; more and more things are becoming out of date and/or irrelevant.

The question, then, is how far does the church want to go to build in the freedoms and flexibilities for the church?

The General Secretary will bring a proposal for changing the Regulations to the next ASC, with a view to forwarding it to the 12th Assembly.   Clause 39

Clause 39 of the Constitution refers to the way in which decisions of the Assembly are required to be referred to the wider church to seek the concurrence of other Councils. The process for Clause 39 to come into effect requires a decision of the Assembly in session to make a decision to “seek concurrence”. In recent times the church has considered that it is insufficient for the Assembly to make that decision on its own. In response to these concerns in the church the Assembly resolved to review Clause 39.

The Task Group charged with this review considered that fundamentally Clause 39 was concerned with the level of consultation needed between the Assembly and other councils, prior to a final decision being made by the Assembly.  Arising from its deliberations the task group is proposing that synods and presbyteries have a role in “determining that inadequate consultation has occurred prior to a decision taken by the Assembly”.

The ASC received the report and agreed that a discussion paper should be referred to synods, presbyteries, the Legal Reference Committee, and other Assembly bodies for feedback by the end of 2008.The, Waiting Upon God’s Word, provides a background to the issues, stimulates discussion around the relationship between the Assembly and other church councils, and proposes various options for Clause 39.

All feedback will be collated and presented to the ASC meeting in March 2009, including proposals for the 12th Assembly. The role of President

At the ASC meeting in March, the President and President-elect were asked to devise a consultation process to determine:

• The core challenges for the UCA in the next 7 years
• Priorities for the President, 2009-2012
• Evaluation of the Assembly Key Directions

President, Gregor Henderson, and President-elect, Alistair Macrae, guided this ASC meeting in small group sessions to work through the above three matters. The information will be collated and reported on at the November ASC meeting.

Coolamon College update

The future of Coolamon College has been on the agenda of the last few ASC meetings. The future financial implications and general viability have been discussed and, at the March meeting, it was decided that the goals of Coolamon College might be best pursued through a partnership between the Assembly and Parkin Wesley College, Adelaide.

The General Secretary reported that a high level of understanding and consensus has now been reached with Parkin Wesley College. “Discussions have been advanced, as encouraged by the ASC, and a plausible proposal has been developed that gives effect to the hopes the Assembly has that the goals of Coolamon College – to provide quality distance education – will be available in an equitable and accessible way across the church,” Terence Corkin said.

“The willingness of Parkin Wesley to take on those programs, and the partnership component that the Standing Committee is being asked to endorse, should satisfy all those goals.”

Rev Andrew Dutney said, “The Synod of South Australia has been giving a lot of attention to theological and continuing education… so we feel well positioned to take up the request and continue to deliver these types of courses”.

However, it was noted that the course of action being taken was both deeply sensitive and difficult for the people involved. “We are making decisions that affect the staff,” said Terence Corkin. He said that all those involved had been kept appraised of any developments and directions along the way and this briefing (and debriefing) would continue.

See also A new future for Coolamon College

Implementation of the Ministry of Pastor

The guidelines and associated documents for the implementation of the Specified Ministry of Pastor are now up on the Assembly website. General Secretary, Terence Corkin, praised the group of individuals who have worked on what was a “huge task”. He said, “I can only praise that group for its professionalism and hard work. The church should now feel well equipped to begin the implementation process”.

For more information, please click here.

Assembly membership

In November 2007, the ASC referred a proposal to presbyteries and synods on the way in which membership might be appointed to meetings of the Assembly, from the 13th Assembly and into the future. Responses to this proposal have since been received from four synods and five presbyteries.

The various elements to the proposal put forward to the church for response include:

• That a set number of people from each Synod be appointed to membership to the Assembly;
• That this number be as it was for the 11th Assembly;
• That each synod determines the number of people to be appointed by each presbytery  within its bounds and how many by the synod;
• Synod Moderators and General Secretaries be ex-officio members within the synod bounds;
• The outgoing (?) ASC have the authority to co-opt an extra 20 people, based on the ‘gifts and wisdom’ needed by the Assembly; and that
• Guidelines on such gifts, graces, skills, wisdom and experiences be prepared.

The feedback from synods and presbyteries was varied, however the main point of contention seemed to be on whether that locking in the number of members from within each synod at 11th Assembly levels might not accurately reflect the current relative strength of the church. Even though the intention was to allow for local flexibility some respondents felt the proposals lacked flexibility.

The ASC determined to refer the proposals and the responses from the synods and presbyteries the Legal Reference Committee for drafting regulations to take to the 12th Assembly, where a wider group will be able to discuss the proposals.

UnitingCare governance arrangements

The ASC has endorsed the revised governance arrangements and mandate for UnitingCare Australia, which arose due to the recent merger between the Uniting Missions Network and UnitingCare Australia. Lin Hatfield Dodds presented the minor changes to the Mandate, the ASC supported delegating some responsibilities to the National Committee and endorsed the governance arrangements.

The Australian Christian Lobby and UCA

The Uniting Church in Australia is committed to social justice, social inclusiveness and ecumenism, so we engage with the political process if and when we see injustices occurring. We understand how important it is to be a part of that process, to have a voice and to make it heard on behalf of those who are disadvantaged or marginalised, and to support other Christians in Australia and across the world as they work for the same goals.

It is in this context that the ASC came to a discussion of Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) events.

Established in 2000, in the last two years the ACL has developed a significant public profile, presenting itself as a major Christian voice on a range of issues. The ACL is a company with four directors. It has financial supporters, no members, and its Board makes all policy decisions and determines the views advanced by the ACL.

In recent years, the UCA has been invited to various events run by the ACL, as have other churches and church leaders. While our responses have varied, depending on the nature of the event, it is fair to say that our non-attendance may be seen as an ecumenical snub by those from other churches who do attend. However, given its organisational structure and the way it controls the agenda and presentation of viewpoints, both the President and the General Secretary have exercised some caution about which events are attended.

On the Religion Report on ABC Radio in May 2008, the head of ACL, Jim Wallace, said that the company did not represent churches (although that is most certainly public perception). Jim Wallace said, “We don’t represent the churches of course, we represent our [financial] supporters”.

General Secretary, Terence Corkin, and President, Gregor Henderson, put to the ASC that they require guidance with regards to the UCA’s dealings with the ACL. Terence said there were “significant matters of principle” behind whether they, as representatives of the Church, would attend a particular event run by the ACL.

Some of the questions considered by the ASC included:

• The ACL is not a membership-based organisation, so who does it represent?
• Does the ACL advance the causes that the UCA supports?
• Where is the value of the General Secretary or President (or Moderators) attending an ACL event? 
• Would attendance be seen by UCA members, the ACL, the media and/or the public as an endorsement of the organisation?
• We have a commitment to ecumenism, but is it best expressed through ACL events?
• How else might we express our political commitment and relationships?

In light of the discussion, it was agreed that future invitations from the ACL would be responded to in the light of how well they reflected a genuinely ecumenical space where the views of all parties were respected.  Reasons for attending or not attending should be clearly communicated to all UCA members.

Alternative missional use of property 

The ways in which property is best used and shared among congregations in the UCA is governed by the polity of the church, through the Regulations. The Assembly decided a while ago that these arrangements needed review, to best resource and facilitate the purposes of the church. This issue is complex and ongoing. The working group reviewing the current Regulations brought a proposal to the ASC, including the suggestion of a new classification of property, ‘available for alternative missional use’.

The ASC consensus was that the proposal was not yet ready to send to the Legal Reference Committee. Rather, it is to be referred to the working groups of Theology and Discipleship for comment, advice and reworking.

A new report/proposal will be brought to the next ASC meeting in November.

Staff appointments

General Secretary

The ASC has unanimously supported a proposal to forward to the 12th Assembly that the Assembly General Secretary, Terence Corkin, be reappointed for a further three-year term.

Theology & Discipleship National Consultant

Following an extensive recruitment process, the Assembly has appointed Rev Dr Chris Walker to the position of Theology & Discipleship National Consultant. Chris Walker currently holds the position of resource officer with the Parramatta-Nepean presbytery, NSW. He has a long history with the UCA, and is a past Principal of Parkin Wesley College, SA. Chris will begin his appointment with the Assembly on 1 November 2008, based in Sydney.

UnitingJustice News

From: Jennifer Whyte
Research Officer, UnitingJustice Australia

Welcome changes made to detention policy

The Uniting Church has welcomed the recent changes to detention policy in Australia announced by the Minister for Immigration.

“The Uniting Church has been advocating for an end to the mandatory, arbitrary and indefinite detention of asylum seekers for many years,” said Rev. Elenie Poulos, National Director of UnitingJustice Australia.

“While the principle of mandatory detention remains, we are pleased that detention will only be used while health, security and identity checks are carried out and that children will never be detained again.”

The full media release can be downloaded from the UnitingJustice website.

The Climate Change Debate

In light of the release of the draft report of the Garnaut Climate Change Review, the Uniting Church has expressed its support for quick and decisive action to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions and has urged an end to the language of “winners” and “losers” in the climate change debate.

“We have one atmosphere and one planet. Either we all win or we all lose,” the National Director of UnitingJustice, Rev. Elenie Poulos said.

The full media release can be downloaded from the UnitingJustice website.

The Uniting Church’s involvement in the climate change and emissions trading scheme debate will continue with work across the Church to write a submission to the Australian Government’s consultation on its Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme Green Paper.

Involvement in government inquiries

UnitingJustice has been involved in several government inquiries recently.

UnitingJustice National Director Rev. Elenie Poulos appeared in front of the committee conducting the Inquiry into the 2007 Federal Election, to answer questions and further discuss issues raised in our submission to this inquiry, made earlier in the year.

UnitingJustice has also made submissions to the Australian Government’s inquiry into the Same-Sex Relationship (Equal Treatment in Commonwealth Laws-Superannuation) Bill 2008 and to the Government’s National Interest Analysis process for accession to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or
Punishment (the “OPCAT”).

These submissions are available on the UnitingJustice website.

Australian Human Rights Charter

The National Director of UnitingJustice, Rev. Elenie Poulos, has taken a position on the steering committee of a national group of organisations working together to support the development of a human rights charter in Australia. This group will help to coordinate the efforts of many organisations working around the country to raise awareness of the need for federal human rights protection in Australia, and to encourage the Government to honour its pre-election commitment of a national public consultation process on this issue. UnitingJustice’s continued involvement in this campaign follows on from the Uniting Church’s National Assembly Standing Committee’s adoption in March of this year of support for such a national human rights charter and the 2006 Assembly human rights statement, Dignity in Humanity.

Dignity in Humanity is available from UnitingJustice as a printed booklet. Please ring or email if you would like copies. Both this and the March 2008 resolution are on our website.

Contact UnitingJustice:
P: (02) 8267 4236
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
W: http://nat.uca.org.au/unitingjustice/

Adult Fellowship News

World Federation Of Methodist And Uniting Church Women: South Pacific Area Seminar
14–19 September 2008

Women making a difference in the Pacific
 
A group of 30 women is registered to attend the seminar in Tonga. 20 are from Queensland, 7 from Victoria and one each from NSW, SA and the ACT. This is an exciting time as we share God’s love with women from across the South Pacific and have an opportunity to meet and talk with the Leaders of the World Federation. A report from the seminar will be in the final issue of Interlink for 2008. Please remember us in your prayers during the time of the seminar. A major focus is the United Nations Millennium Goals and how they are being accomplished throughout the Pacific. If you have a story to tell please email Angela Lester: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Uniting International Mission News

From: Amy Goodhew
Communications Coordinator, UIM

New Leaders in Partner Churches

Our partner churches abroad face incredible challenges in leading their congregations. Two of Uniting International Mission’s Partner Churches — the Protestant Christian Church in Bali (GKPB) and the Protestant Christian Church in East Timor  (IPTL) — have recently elected new leaders to face these challenges.

GKPB — Bali has seen turbulent times in recent years and needs strong leadership from the church to always be a voice of peace and reconciliation. The Protestant Christian Church in Bali has re-elected Rev. Made I Priana and Rev. Ketut Philipus Aryawijaya as General Secretary and Treasurer, while Rev. Drs Wayan Sudira husada was elected as the Moderator for the period 2008-2012.

IPTL — East Timor is a country struggling to rebuild itself and the church faces unique challenges in the face of violence, racial tensions and fear. The Protestant Church in East Timor has elected Rev. Albino Costa as General Secretary, Rev. Helena Maplani was elected Treasurer and Rev. Moises da Silva was elected Moderator for the period 2008-2012.

UIM acknowledges the leadership of the former Moderator, Rev Francisco de Vasconcelos who led the church as Moderator from the year 2000. Before 2000, Rev Francisco de Vasconcelos was General Secretary and provided key leadership in East Timor during the violence associated with the UN sponsored referendum on independence in August 1999. Francisco’s life was threatened and he led many IPTL members into the safety of the mountains during the period of conflict.

Rev Moises da Silva is a former treasurer of the IPTL Synod and a former Acting Director of YASONA (IPTL community development foundation).

Ministers Conference exposure visits

At the conclusion of the national minister’s conference in Bali, three exposure experiences were organised by Uniting International Mission. These were organised with the intention of raising awareness and learning from the Indonesian church as it engages in a number of critical issues. These include programs to combat poverty, a focus on sustainable development, living in a pluralist society and engaging with other faiths.

For more information on the exposure visits, please visit our website.

Successful trip for Knox to Milne Bay

Last month 10 students and four staff members from Knox Grammar School in Sydney travelled to Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea and stayed in the village of Lelehudi for five days. The trip was very successful, with the team achieving all that they hoped and learning more than they could have imagined.

Whilst in the village, the students helped build a toilet as part of UCOA’s Sanitation Project in Milne Bay. They also visited Lelehudi Community School where they presented gifts of library books and sporting equipment, viewed the dam and gravity fed water system installed by the Milne Bay Water Project, and enjoyed many football matches with the boys of the village.

The Knox team were welcomed into the fascinating culture of Lelehudi and it is hoped that this is just the beginning of a long term relationship between Knox Grammar and the people of Milne Bay.

For more information, visit our website.

Uniting Church Overseas Aid

Uniting Church Overseas Aid (UCOA) is currently raising funds for their Add Value campaign and their Burma Cyclone Appeal. With nearly two million people now homeless in Burma it is more important than ever to have your support. Our Add Value campaign is raising money to finance projects in Asia and the Pacific – specifically equipping individuals and communities to improve their livelihood and work towards a brighter future.

To learn more go to the Overseas Aid website.

People in Mission

People in Mission (PIM) will shortly be advertising for overseas placements for 1st semester 2009.

Keep checking the website for more information.

Frontier Services News

From: Trevor Dalziell
Public Relations Manager, Frontier Services

Meeting  the challenge in remote Derby

Frontier Services overcame major obstacles recently to get the remote Numbala Nunga aged care facility in Derby (WA) operational.

The organisation took over running of the 26-bed high care service from the WA Regional Health Service last month.

Unfortunately, the majority of staff elected to remain with their former employer and Frontier Services was faced with the daunting task of recruiting more than 30 employees, ranging from nurses to carers, cooks and maintenance people.

New Director of Care, Gail Williams, went on a huge recruiting drive in the month before the handover — locally, nationally and internationally — and was able to take over the service with a full complement.

“We still desperately need more qualified nurses, however, to train the local indigenous staff who are extremely enthusiastic and willing to learn but who lack experience,” she said.

The other issue facing Frontier Services is that the aged care facility is very old and in need of replacement. Costs and availability of builders are at a premium in remote WA and Frontier Services is currently investigating a more cost-effective option of having a pre-fabricated building shipped from Sydney.

Meanwhile, Frontier Services’ National Director, Rosemary Young, recently opened two new facilities for the organisation in the NT and Queensland.

Frontier Services’ NT Regional Office recently relocated to new and bigger premises to accommodate the ever increasing range of services being provided. The Savannah Regional Health Service, based out of Georgetown in Queensland and serving several other centres, now has a proper office after previously operating out of temporary premises.

In WA, Frontier Services is also recruiting staff for a new Mobile Mental Health Respite Service in the State’s North-West after recently being granted funding to establish a new operation.

Concerts to promote Frontier Services From: Rosemary Young,
National Director, Frontier Services

In a unique venture for the organisation, Frontier Services will stage two large country music concerts in September in Alice Springs and Townsville.

The ‘Heartland’ Concerts, featuring Troy Cassar-Daly, Sara Storer and The Songbirds, will support the work of Frontier Services with people living in the Outback.
 
The concerts coincide with the Red Centre to Gold Coast Car Trial which Frontier Services has been invited to participate in as a charity partner. The Trial is made up of competitive rally sections on closed public roads or private farm tracks. More than 100 vehicles from all over Australia will compete, starting in Alice Springs on September 8 and finishing on the Gold Coast on September 20. A replica of the original Dodge ‘buckboard’ car used by Frontier Services’ founder John Flynn will lead off the rally cars at many of their stopovers. “The rally is an ideal ‘fit’ for Frontier Services,” said National Development Manager David Sullivan.“It covers a lot of territory where Flynn worked and where Frontier Services is still working. In fact, the theme of our promotional events will be ‘In the footsteps of Flynn’.” Among other events Frontier Services will organise en route will be school walkathons, community breakfasts and a community camp oven dinner in Longreach. “The undoubted highlight for us, however, will be the staging of the Heartland concerts,” David said.“These will be an entirely new direction for Frontier Services but we think they have great potential for raising awareness and donations towards our work.” Anyone wishing to find out more about the car rally can visit can go to the official website.

UnitingCare News

From: Hannah Cormick
Communication Officer, UnitingCare Australia

Two significant changes for people with disabilities

The Federal Government acted on its social inclusion principles last month when it moved to protect the incomes of Disability Support Pensioners actively looking for work. This means that from September of this year, those on Disability Support Pensions can have their employment assistance needs assessed without fear of losing income in the process. In the past few years, Disability Support Pensioners recipients who wanted to look for work automatically had their benefits reviewed, which often resulted in a reduction of their payments. In practice, this meant that many people chose not to seek employment assistance at all, as they were afraid of losing their essential income support, or being shifted to a much lower payment. For a single person over 21, the Disability Support Pension is only $273 a week - not a huge sum of money to live on. This change will separate the evaluation of a person’s pension eligibility from the evaluation of employment assistance, removing the fear of losing income.

This change has come about due to the hard work and advocacy of people on Disability Support Pensions staff on the ground and advocacy workers, expressing their concerns about this policy’s impact on the vocational aspirations of people without access to appropriate employment assistance.

Paving the way for this change has been a wonderful, collective effort by UnitingCare agencies, through case studies and informing national advocacy work around this issue. The Chair of UnitingCare Australia’s Employment Services Group, Quinn Pawson, said the feedback he received within the first fifteen minutes of the announcement was a huge sigh of relief from Disability Support Pensioners who are now free to pursue their employment goals.

The Federal Government also officially ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities last month. According the United Nations, the convention marks a paradigm shift in attitudes and approaches to persons with disabilities by moving away from treating people with disabilities as “objects” to treating them as “subjects” with rights who are capable of claiming those rights.

Australia can now participate in the first election of the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which will oversee the implementation of the Convention. Australia also now joins 29 other countries who have officially endorsed the convention.  

The ratification is another collective effort, with the not-for-profit sector working closely with Government to achieve common goals. Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith applauded the cooperation of the two sectors to come together to achieve this historic change.

These two landmark announcements by the new Government are a clear signalling of its commitment to a clear and strong social inclusion agenda.  These two steps resonate strongly with core principles from UnitingCare Australia’s Faith Foundations:

• No matter their age, gender, sexuality, ability, class, colour, creed or cultural origins, each person in Australian society is to be treated justly, accorded dignity and have their basic rights protected;

• Australian society must be guided by a commitment to justice, full participation by its citizens in its shared life and a particular concern for those who are most disadvantaged and marginalised;

• Decision making on national policy must operate in a truly democratic way involving and empowering the greatest number of people wherever possible.

UnitingCare Australia commended these changes to Australia’s disability landscape and will continue to work to protect the rights of those who are marginalised and vulnerable.

New UCA Arabic congregation

From: Tony Floyd
National Director, Multicultural and Cross-cultural Ministry

The Maranatha Arabic speaking Congregation at Smithfield was received as a congregation at The Presbytery of Parramatta-Nepean on June 6, the 31st Anniversary of the Uniting Church.

The majority of the congregation come from modern Iraq with others from other parts of the Middle East. Rev. David Peters, Chairperson of presbytery, led the reception into the church. Rev. Dr Chris Walker, Mission person for Presbytery of Parramatta-Nepean led the service, and I preached.

As part of the service, copies of the Basis of Union in Arabic were presented to Pastor Farouk Hammo. This is a resource that will make it possible for the congregation to live its commitment to ‘be guided by the Basis of Union.’

This is another positive step in Uniting Church relationships and ministries among Christians from Arabic speaking countries. It also builds on long-term UCA commitment and partnerships between the National Assembly, Synods and Presbyteries.

Positions Vacant

Executive Administrative Assistant
Uniting Faith & Justice and
Multicultural & Cross-cultural Ministry

The Assembly
The Uniting Church in Australia seeks a full-time Executive Administrative Assistant for the Uniting Faith & Justice and Multicultural and Cross-cultural Ministry agencies of the Uniting Church Assembly.

Responsibilities
Responsibilities include the provision of high level administrative assistance, coordination of events, assistance with research as directed. The organising of meetings, production of executive minutes, letters and other reports, the organisation and oversight of travel and accommodation arrangements, the development and maintenance of databases, filing, responding to enquiries and other tasks as determined by the Associate General Secretary.

Key Selection Criteria
• Commitment to the ethos of the Uniting Church
• Initiative and proven ability to work without supervision
• High level organisational skills
• Fast and efficient word-processing and computer skills
• Excellent communication skills
• Proven ability to work with a wide range of people and across cultures
• Proven ability to work in a team environment and manage projects
• Ability to maintain confidentiality
• Experience in dealing with difficult situations appropriately

Desirable
• Skills in desktop publishing, eg. Publisher
• Knowledge of Uniting Church structures and polity

Enquiries
Contact Rev Glenda Blakefield for a position description: 
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Send applications to
Rev Glenda Blakefield
Associate General Secretary
Uniting Church in Australia
PO Box A2266
Sydney South NSW 1235

Closing Date
Wednesday 13 August 2008

Internship for Young Adults
World Council of Churches

The World Council of Churches Internship for young adults (18-30 yrs). WCC is currently seeking applications for the next round of Interns to begin in February 2009 until January 2010, based in Geneva. Interns are assigned to one of the WCC working areas, and will work on planning for an ecumenical project to implement on return home.

The five areas available for the next Interns are:
a) accompanying churches in situations of conflict
b) youth: ecumenical relationships
c) visitors program; media relations
d) faith, science, technology and ethics
e) the WCC Commission on Faith and Order
 
Applicants will be considered on their commitment to the ecumenical movements, and on their skills, aptitude and experience.

Closing date: 15 September, 2008.

For further information contact Rev Dr Sandy Yule
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New Assembly Publications

From: Terence Corkin
Assembly General Secretary

There are a number of very important new publications coming out from the Assembly. All UCA publications are available from Mediacom, which is now a ministry of the Synod of SA.

Regulations

The 2008 edition of the Regulations will be available 5 August from Mediacom. This edition includes a significant number of changes to important areas. The new Part 8 on Appeals is a major revision of this aspect of the church’s oversight and it is essential for all office bearers to have the latest regulations in this area - including Church Councils. The Ministry of Pastor has also been introduced since the last edition of the Regulations as well as new provisions for leave of absence for youth workers. Over a triennium there are many smaller changes and over two it is easy to lose track of the changes. Reprints of the Regulations do not appear on the website until six months after publication as this facility is only intended for casual users. The new edition will come spiral bound and cost $33.50 plus $8.95 postage and handling.

Theology for Pilgrims

Theology for Pilgrims is a compendium of all the foundational documents of our church. An unreasonable critique of the Uniting Church is that it does not know what it believes. In this comprehensive book there is a clear rebuttal to such claims. There are documents on the faith of the church, our understanding of the character and identity of the church as well as its core practices — baptism, Eucharist and ministry.

There are several specific documents on the areas of controversy that the church has experienced around these issues in its 30 plus years of existence. So there are papers on ordination, including why the UCA ordains women, and our teaching on baptism and our understanding of lay presidency at the sacraments. There are also key documents on the church’s vocation as expressed through its two statements to the Nation, the Covenant with Congress and the statement on being a multicultural church.

This large book (641 pages) is a must for every Minister and teacher in the church. It is not only a resource for understanding and teaching about the church but to revisit some of these documents is an inspiration and encouragement.

The Assembly considers that this book is so important that it has subsidised the cost and at $69.95 it is priced at a level that will not recover all the costs of production. This book will be available early September. 

Introducing the Uniting Church

Introducing the Uniting Church is a new book written by Rev Dr Andrew Dutney who has written several works on the Basis of Union. One of the most popular selling books at Mediacom is Understanding the Uniting Church by David Merritt, but it has not been revised for many years and is showing its age. However its popularity indicates that there is great interest in an introductory book about the church.

Andrew has prepared an engaging and interesting book that will be useful in a wide variety of settings. He used some of the material in his presentations to the recent Ministers’ Conferences conducted by the President.

It is anticipated that the book will be available around the end of September.

Place orders at the website
P: 1800 811 311

 

New From Group Publishing Emergency Response Hand-booklet Series
Each topic-specific booklet includes powerful ways to minister to a struggling friend.
Counselling and care tips, practical advice on what to say and what not to say, Scripture connections, and additional resources.
Topics include:
• Addiction
• Depression
• Divorce
• Financial Crisis
• Rebellious Child Each booklet                             $2.95
Also available in packs of 10      $14.95

Books for Unitings

These books are selected by Hugh McGinlay and are available from UCA bookshops and resource centres. For further information on any title, contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the website.

THE GIFT OF YEARS
Joan Chittister
One of our generation’s great spiritual teachers offers thought-provoking meditations not just on ‘growing older gracefully’ but on the ultimate meaning of life itself.

Bluebridge
ISBN 9781933346106    $29.95

JUST LOVE
Margaret Farley
Combines scholarship, wisdom, compassion and acceptance for the existential reality of human beings in a sexual world.

Continuum
ISBN 9780826429247    $32.95

HOLDING TOGETHER
Christopher Cocksworth
Argues that Christian identity is to be found in holding together its evangelical, catholic and charismatic dimensions and sets out to show how this can be done.

Canterbury
ISBN 9781853118395    $56.95

SEEKING GOD’S FACE
Notto Thelle
Uses compelling and original interpretations of Bible stories — including the woman taken in adultery and the Song of Songs — to offer a spiritual antidote to our alienated world.

Paulist
ISBN 9780809145157    $22.95

ON GOD
Norman Mailer
Celebrated US author of The Naked and the Dead offers his understanding of God, especially his ideas about God as an artistic God “who needs us as much as we need God”.

Continuum
ISBN 9781847062864    $44.95 

MediaCom

MediaCom is an agency of the Uniting Church in Australia.

Constitution and Regulations 2008 Edition (New)
The legal constitution of the Uniting Church, with the Basis of Union, Code of Ethics, Alternate Regulations for Korean and Small Congregations.

Uniting Church Press, 336 pages  $33.50

Calendar and Lectionary 2008/09 (NEW) Year B
Officially approved list of lectionary readings, with listings for special occasions within the Uniting Church. $2.25

Abingdon Preaching Annual 2009 (NEW)
David N Mosser (ed)
Now the most comprehensive and useful aid for sermon preparation.
• Lectionary-based sermons
• Commentary on lectionary passages
• 23 topical sermon series
• Four-year liturgical event calendar
• Lectionary readings in one easy-to-read table
• Searchable CD-ROM included with every book

Abingdon Press, 448 pages   $38.45

Abingdon Worship Annual 2009 (NEW)
Mary J Scifres and B.J. Beu (ed)
This trusted planning resource for traditional and contemporary worship now includes a CD!
• Uses a Theme Idea based on the lectionary readings
• Provides alternative ideas for Praise Sentences
• Includes several Communion liturgies
• NEW searchable CD-ROM included with every book
• PDF format for ease of navigation and use
• Full text of the print edition
• NEW music suggestions for each week
• NEW annotated resource list with links to helpful worship planning websites

Abingdon Press, 288 pages   $38.45