ASC Update March 2021
Picture: The March 2021 online ASC meeting
The Assembly Standing Committee (ASC) met for the final time in the current triennium, 12-14 March 2021.
As well as an overview of the work of the ASC for the past three years, and finalising some significant projects, it was a opportunity to thank ASC members for their diligence and commitment to this important governance committee of the Uniting Church.
The ASC was updated on the preparations for the 16th Assembly, including both the online (17-18 July) meeting and the reconvened in-person meeting (2022). Detailed information to members of the 16th Assembly will be available in the coming weeks.
The Act2 Task Group provided a report to the ASC on progress to date, particularly outcomes from the online survey [add link] which will close on 16th April, and the online National Conversations which have been held. This project will continue to be a priority for the work of the ASC and the Assembly.
Online Gathering for Worship with Holy Communion
The ASC approved the extension of permission to hold online gathering for worship with Holy Communion until the end of November 2021. The Guidelines for this will be amended to include Uniting Church congregations and other Uniting Church communities of faith which may find it necessary or appropriate to meet partially in a gathered community while also welcoming participation by others who join the community through real time or recorded broadcasts.
Climate Action Plan
The ASC noted the Assembly’s Climate Action Plan, which will be tracked across three focus areas – prophetic, practical, and pastoral – with a vision to seek the flourishing of the whole of God’s Creation and all its creatures, acting with all parts of the Uniting Church to make the vision a reality to reduce emissions by 5% per annum and become a net zero emissions church by 2040. Progress on the plan across all the Assembly’s operations will be reported annually to the ASC.
Domestic and Family Violence Resources
Following a three-year project which included engagement and research across the Uniting Church, government and other church groups and community agencies working in this area, the ASC noted domestic and family violence resources that were developed. The resources will be available online soon – watch National Update for an announcement regarding this.
Apology to LGBTIQ Australians Task Group
An update from this Task Group which was established out of a resolution made at the 15th Assembly, was provided to the ASC. The Task Group is continuing its work, developing a consultation process and will report again to the August 2021 ASC meeting.
UnitingCare Australia Report
UnitingCare Australia provided its annual report to the ASC about its work in accordance with its Strategic Priorities – Justice for First Peoples, Addressing Economic Inequality, Ageing to our Full Potential and responding to the Disability Royal Commission. The important aged care campaign, “It’s time to care for aged care” calling for a world-class, rights-based aged care system that meets the needs of older Australians now and into the future has been a significant focus. Please sign the petition.
National Safe Church Unit Annual Stakeholder Report
The National Safe Church Unit provided its Annual Stakeholder Report to the ASC. The report included information about the Principles of a Child Safe UCA across the life of the Uniting Church. Read the report.
The Church in the Digital Age
Following ongoing discussions at the ASC, it established a Task Group to consider the theological implications of the Church in the digital age. The Task Group’s work will be ongoing over the coming triennium.