Structure of the Uniting Church in Australia
Gordon-Pymble Uniting Church (GPUC) is a congregation of the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA).
We are a collection of people who are exploring what it means to be friends with God and followers of the way of Jesus. We wrestle with the big questions, try to include everyone in the conversation from our youngest to our oldest. We love to put our faith into action, not enough to just think about faith we love rolling up our sleeves and getting on with being in our community in a way that makes a difference for those who need it most. We are experimenting with how we can do worship differently but also making it still feel like home for those who have worshiped in the Church their whole life. Some days it works, some not so much!
But most of all we are trying hard to be a community of love, the kind of love that Jesus showed and that God is.
You are really welcome to join us any time, there is always room for one more at the table!
The UCA belongs to its members and they are responsible for its government and the stewardship of its property. It does not operate under a hierarchy. Instead, it operates through a series of inter-related councils — at the local level (the Congregation and its Church Council), regionally (the Presbytery), at the State/Territory level (the Synod) and nationally (the Assembly). Each level comprises representatives of the UCA’s members.
In discharging its responsibilities, each council seeks to discern God’s will through the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Decision-making at council meeting is by consensus. This ensures issues are fully aired and all members feel they have been adequately heard. Decisions are not normally made by majority vote. Rather the agreement of all members of the council is sought even though some may feel it is not their preference but all can support it and commit themselves to the decision.
In each State and Territory there is a statutory corporation, known as the Uniting Church Property Trust, which holds the legal title to and deals with property, on trust for the UCA, in its State or Territory. Each Church Council is responsible for the management, care and maintenance of all property of the UCA acquired or held for the use of the Congregation.
Key governance documents for the UCA are the:
- the Uniting Church Basis of Union; and
- the Uniting Church Constitution and Regulations (including the Manual for Meetings) https://www.nswact.uca.org.au/about-us]
Under the Uniting Church Regulations the Congregation comprises the minister and the members recorded on its roll. It has general meetings twice a year and informal gatherings at other times. Once a year at a meeting of the Congregation financial reports are presented and policies, plans, budgets, appointments and other matters within the responsibility of the Congregation are determined. The Congregation elects its Chairperson and Secretary for periods determined by the Congregation. A quorum for a meeting is the greater of 8 members or and one-tenth of the members.
Congregation officeholders: Sue Co (Chairperson), John B (Secretary)
Under the Uniting Church Regulations the Church Council’s responsibilities include:
- As a main priority, to build the congregation up in faith and love, sustaining members in hope, and leading the Congregation to a fuller participation in Christ’s mission in the world.
- to manage the financial affairs and the general administration of the Congregation including the reception, preparation and presentation of all necessary budgets, statements and reports.
- to managing and control property but the Council must consult with the Congregation regarding any proposal concerning property that would have a substantial effect on the life, witness and service of the Congregation.
- to prepare and present to a meeting of the Congregation an annual report concerning the life and work of the Congregation.
The members of the Church Council comprise the Minister and congregation members who are elected by the congregation for a term of up to five years (the period being determined by the nominee). The maximum number of members is determined by the congregation. The Church Council members appoint a Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer annually.
The Church Council meets monthly (or more frequently if required) and a quorum is half the membership of Church Council.
The Church Council may appoint committees or task groups to assist the Church Council in any of its responsibilities. Membership of the committees and task groups is not restricted to members of the Church Council, although at least one member of any committee or task groups must be a member of the Church Council.