March 22, 2023
Voice to Parliament
The ASC considered the importance of the national conversation about the referendum regarding the proposed change to the Australian Constitution to recognise an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament.
The Assembly Standing Committee resolved that:
Having heard from the UAICC, and informed by our commitment to the Covenant between the Uniting Church and the UAICC and our advocacy on issues of importance to the First Peoples of Australia; and recognising that there is a diversity of perspectives, to
- declare the support of the Uniting Church in Australia for the proposed change in the Australian Constitution to recognise an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament, as a step toward the invitation of the Uluru Statement to voice, truth telling, and treaty;
- noting the significance of this moment in our nation’s history and relationship with its First Peoples, to call on church, community and political leaders to engage the referendum issues, modelling respectful and constructive dialogue;
- communicate the support of the Uniting Church in Australia for the proposed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voice to Parliament to parliamentary leaders;
- invite the whole Uniting Church to see the referendum as a challenge to reflect further on our own practices in our relationships with First Peoples within and outside the Church in expressing the priority of the Covenant with the UAICC; and
- request the Assembly General Secretary to provide resourcing to the Church in support of the ‘yes’ campaign, pointing to the Church’s previous Covenant commitments and resolutions.
(unconfirmed minute, ASC March 2023)
As the beginning of this resourcing, the Assembly has developed a website for Uniting Church members to stay informed and get involved. Find it here: https://uniting.church/voice/
Frontier Services National Director Appointment
The ASC was delighted to approve the appointment of Mr Rob Floyd as the National Director of Frontier Services, following strong endorsement from the Frontier Services Board.
Circles of Interest
A report was provided to the ASC on the activity of the seven Circles of Interest [Walking Together as First and Second People, Seeking Common Ground, Discipling the Next Generations, Being a Multicultural Church, Working for Justice, Growing in Faith and Transforming Worship], and all of the Advocates joined the ASC via zoom with the exception of Alison Overeem who was present as a member of ASC.
The ASC approved the appointment of two new Advocates — Rev Alex Sangster (moving from Transforming Worship to Working for Justice) and Rev Jon Humphries (Transforming Worship).
Assembly Resourcing Unit, Ministry & Mission Team
The Associate General Secretary reported to the ASC on the work of this team, including delivering on the Assembly Strategic Plan, staffing changes and what is coming up for the team.
The Church in the Digital Age
The ASC received the final report from the Church in the Digital Age Task Group and offered their thanks to the members of the Task Group before discharging them.
To continue this work, the ASC requested the Advocate and Panel of Transforming Worship to report on any learnings coming from the ongoing use of digital and hybrid settings for worship across the Church; and the Advocate and Panel of Discipling the Next Generation to report on any learnings coming from the ongoing use of digital platforms by emerging generations. These reports will be brought to the November 2023 ASC meeting along with a report from the Associate General Secretary concerning a process for developing guidelines and potential regulatory changes required in order to support healthy online and non-geographic communities of faith.
The Advocate and Panel of Growing in Faith were also asked to prepare a report for the March 2024 ASC with respect to the following issues in the light of the ‘Digital Age’
- The theology and practice of being ecclesia,
- How we understand humanity and personhood, and
- The theology and practice of the sacraments.
A report on the Act2 Project was provided, including the work done to date and the many consultations happening across the UCA in the Explore Phase, and the significant time of prayer as the Church, Uniting in Prayer. To read information about the project plan, submissions from members and what is happening in the Act2 project, go to https://www.act2uca.com.
National Disaster Relief Fund Management Committee
Rev Ann Perrin was appointed as a member of the National Disaster Relief Fund Management Committee.
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