Presbyteries in South Australia
What are Presbytery responsibilities?
A Presbytery’s responsibilities are described in the UCA Constitution paragraph 26, and detailed in Regulation 3.1.3 This paragraph can be accessed by visiting the UCA Assembly website.
“The Presbytery shall have such oversight as is necessary to the life and mission of the Church in the area committed to it; it shall stimulate and encourage the Congregations within the bounds, providing them with opportunities for counsel in the strengthening and assistance of one another and in their participation in wider aspects of the work of the Church”.
What makes a Presbytery “healthy and effective”?
The Restructuring Task Group and the Standing Committee hold the aspirational view that Presbyteries are absolutely vital in our Church life to ensure that:
* congregations, faith communities and ministers are well resourced and supported
* mission and ministry continues to flourish through cross congregational networking, (a feature of Mission Networks), resourcing events and fellowship opportunities through Presbytery activities being heavily relationship based.
The attributes of an ideal Presbytery were described on pages 1 and 2 of Circular No. 2.
Will there be equal representation of all Presbyteries on Synod, and on Committees and Boards of the Synod?
All appointment processes and representation requirements will need to comply with the requirements specified in the UCA Regulations.
What functions will the Synod retain and why?
There are a number of reasons why it would make sense to have these functions made the responsibility of the Synod in the new structure including consistency of practice across the Synod, external regulatory requirements, having functions sitting where the expertise lies, the minimisation of risk and duplication and the maximisation of efficiency. Examples of these functions would be Human Resources, Safe Church Committee, WHS, Police screening, insurance, information technology, Privacy payroll, congregational bookkeeping.
How will the initial Presbytery leadership teams be appointed and do we know who they will be?
These appointments will be made by the Presbytery members themselves once the Presbyteries have been constituted.
What factors will be taken into account in determining the number of Presbyteries?
The Presbyteries that are formed will most likely be formed on a geographical basis. The factors that will be used as a guideline in this discussion will include:
* Number of congregations
* Number of ministers
* The long term sustainability of the Presbytery
Who will make the decision about the number of geographic presbyteries?
The Restructuring Task Group will make recommendations to the Standing Committee but ultimately the Synod meeting will make that decision.
Where will Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) SA sit in the new structure?
Congress congregations will make their individual choices about which Presbytery they want to be part of and the Regional Committee will continue its current role of coordinating the work of the UAICC across the State for all Congress congregations
How are CALD ministries being considered in the new structure?
All CALD congregations and faith communities will make their own choice.
Who will be responsible for ordination and induction of Ministers?
The relevant Presbytery
Where will lay preachers relate?
Lay preachers will relate to the Synod as per the current arrangements.
What is the impact of the Presbytery restructure on Chaplains, ministers in non-congregational placements and ministers not in placement?
This issue is going to be the subject of a consultation currently being planned for this group of ministers. But it is anticipated that ministry agents in non- congregational placements may choose Generate Presbytery but will also need to relate to the geographic presbytery where their employing body is located.
Will issues related to property remain as a Synod responsibility?
All property matters will continue to be a shared responsibility of the Presbyteries and the Synod as is currently the case.
What staffing resources will be provided to Presbyteries?
Each Presbytery will determine the staffing resources in terms of numbers, and skills mix that they think are required. These decisions will always be made in the context of the individual Presbytery budget. The underlying model when agreed will in some part determine resources to be utilised for staffing.
How will Foundation Grants be decided and distributed?
The current arrangements for seeking Foundation grants still apply
Who makes the decision about which Presbytery a congregation nominates to join in this initial choice process?
It is always a congregational meeting that makes the decision about which Presbytery it wants to join.
Where do congregations go if more information is needed before making a congregational decision on Presbytery membership?
Congregations wanting more information about the proposed restructure process or timetable before they vote should contact Rev Sue Page, firstname.lastname@example.org, 8236 4217
What if a minister prefers to connect with a different Presbytery to the one chosen by the congregation?
A minister will need to be part of the Presbytery life of the congregation in which they are placed but will also be able to access resourcing opportunities from other Presbyteries as well.
What are the rules for congregations voting on their Presbytery choice?
Proposal 28 2.9 states that a decision of the congregation, which if not by consensus or agreement, would require a two-thirds majority in formal procedures in order for the congregation to decide to join the NGP. If congregations have any concerns about how to conduct their voting process they should contact the Pastoral Relations and Mission Planning Team, email@example.com, 8236 4204.
Who decides on the boundaries of the geographical Presbyteries?
Ultimately this decision rests with the Synod meeting but will be based on a proposal put forward to the Synod meeting through the Synod Standing Committee.
Can churches change Presbyteries with a change of minister or lay pastors?
Congregations will be able to leave or join Generate Presbytery for a range of reasons by presenting a rationale and seeking approval from the Standing Committee.
Do all linked congregations need to be part of the same Presbytery?
Congregations who are in this situation are encouraged to talk through their choices with a member of the Pastoral Relations and Mission Planning team.
What do we do if we believe we have a unique structure of inter-congregational cooperation?
If you feel you are in a unique situation, you are encouraged to talk through their choices with a member of the Pastoral Relations and Mission Planning team.
What decisions do ministry agents need to make?
(information provided by Rev Rob Brown in an email)
a) A Ministry agent in a single Congregation placement will come under the oversight of the Presbytery chosen by the Congregation. No further action is needed.
b) A Ministry agent in a multi-Congregation placement (if the congregations choose different presbyteries) will be able to choose the Presbytery under whose oversight they wish to come. This will be one of the Presbyteries with which their congregations relate. They will also need to maintain a relationship with any other Presbyteries chosen by the congregations in which they minister.
Response form due June 7th: Presbytery-Decision-Form-non-cong Return to firstname.lastname@example.org
c) Ministry agents who are in non-congregational placements, in active service, or awaiting placement need to decide which Presbytery under whose oversight they will come.
Response form due June 7th: Presbytery-Decision-Form-non-cong Return to email@example.com
It is anticipated that once further presbyteries are formed in November 2019, a ministry agent may choose to come under the oversight of the Generate Presbytery. However due to the nature and/or location of their placement, these Ministry agents may need to represent the ‘employing body’ at the relevant geographic Presbytery.
Even if a Ministry agent is unsure at this time which Presbytery to join, they are asked to indicate that on the form. Those who are unsure will be placed in the Transitional Presbytery of South Australia for now. Ministry agents may make the decision to join Generate Presbytery at a later time or decide to wait until November, when the shape of the Presbyteries that will be formed out of the Transitional Presbytery of South Australia is known.
Funding assumptions (18th April)
What will happen to Mission Networks
All Mission Networks have received a letter with the information in the one attached.
Letter to Networks – Decisions of Standing Committee 5 April 2019 – Susan Burt
“It has been determined by the Synod Standing Committee that Mission Networks will not continue in their current form or funding arrangements beyond June, 2019. Congregations will be encouraged to develop informal networks within and across presbyteries but the current formal structure of Mission Networks will no longer exist”.
At the meeting of the Standing Committee on April 5, 2019, it was resolved to:
1. DETERMINE that whilst congregations may continue to form informal networks for a variety of purposes Mission Networks will no longer continue in their current form or funding model after 29 June, 2019.
2. DETERMINE that paid positions in Mission Networks will cease by the end of November 2019 on the basis that these positions related to a committee of the former Presbytery which will be dissolved in June 2019.
3. DETERMINE that the Synod will take responsibility for the administration (HR processes, etc) of these positions until the conclusion of these positions by the end of November 2019
4. DIRECT the Mission Networks with paid positions continuing beyond 30 June, 2019, to fund those positions from accumulated Network reserves during the transitional period for the new Presbytery structures (1 July 2019 to 30 November 2019).
5. REQUEST Mission Networks to determine how they will expend any accumulated funds remaining after paid positions have ceased and provisions for leave payments owing to staff have been accounted for using one or more of the following options:
* Funds to be returned to congregations;
* Seed funding for the new Presbyteries;
* Church Planting within the Presbytery and Synod;
* Other Uniting Church mission projects.