September 27, 2023
General Secretary - Announcement
Uniting Church in Australia Assembly General Secretary Colleen Geyer will step down from her role at the end of December 2023 after eight years offering leadership to the national council of the Church.
Making the announcement, Uniting Church President Rev Sharon Hollis praised Ms Geyer for her strong and dedicated leadership during a time of great challenge and change for the Church.
“Since her appointment at the end of 2015, Colleen has been a creative, highly collaborative and steadfast leader for the Assembly,” said Rev Hollis. “Throughout a period that has at times been difficult and challenging, Colleen has exhibited and nurtured the values adopted by the Assembly during her leadership – hope, justice, compassion, respect, integrity and innovation.”
“Since her appointment at the end of 2015, Colleen has been a creative, highly collaborative and steadfast leader for the Assembly."
“It has been a delight for me to lead the Assembly alongside Colleen as General Secretary. She is deeply committed to work of the Assembly and the wider Church and has brought to the role a faithfulness to Christ as we seek to join God’s mission in the world.”
Ms Geyer leaves behind a significant legacy, including her leadership across two triennial Assembly meetings and steering the Assembly through the difficult time of COVID-19.
Leading into and after the 15th Assembly meeting, the General Secretary provided leadership as the Church discerned its position on same-gender marriage and communicated its decision to the rest of the Church.
In 2017, Ms Geyer appeared on behalf of the Church at the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse and led the Church’s response to its recommendations, which included the establishment of UCA Redress Ltd and the National Safe Church Unit, a result of significant national collaboration between the Assembly and the Synods.
Like all parts of the Church, during the pandemic the Assembly needed to pivot and adapt to carry out its business in new ways and meet new demands. This included the decision for the 16th Assembly to initially meet online in 2021 – the first time this has taken place.
During Ms Geyer’s tenure, the Act2 Project was established by the Assembly Standing Committee and continues to be one of the most comprehensive and ambitious consultation processes the Assembly has undertaken.
She has overseen the significant re-shaping of the Assembly’s ways of working, both in regard to internal structures and the way Assembly connects with the wider Church. This leadership included the development of the Assembly’s first strategic plan.
Ms Geyer has been deeply commitment to the Uniting Church’s Covenant with First Peoples and supported the development of the first Assembly Covenant Action Plan.
Alongside the President, in 2021 Ms Geyer was announced as an Ambassador for the global Thursdays in Black movement that encourages people to speak out against all forms of gender-based violence.
Ms Geyer is stepping down from 31 December 2023 due to a range of personal and professional reasons.
“The Assembly Standing Committee will put a plan in place to ensure the significant work of the Assembly continues without any loss of energy until a new General Secretary is appointed at the 17th Assembly,” said Rev Hollis.
“We are deeply grateful and give thanks to God for the faithful service Colleen has provided and we ask God’s blessings as she looks to serve the Uniting Church into the future.”
In her General Secretary's report to the 16th Assembly, Ms Geyer shared this prayer for the future of the Church: “My prayer is for bravery, boldness and a certain amount of nerve for all of us at the Assembly and the wider Uniting Church, as we hold true to being the Church God calls us to be and as we continue to be a pilgrim people for all that is to come.”
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