The 15th Assembly got down to business on Monday Morning at Box Hill Town Hall in Melbourne.
Dr Deidre Palmer, who was installed as UCA President on Sunday night, welcomed Assembly members and commented that the upcoming week “would be a marathon one for us all”.
“As we progress through Assembly week I hope we have a sense of gladness and joy that we are together,” Dr Palmer said.
After eucharist was taken the first item of business was the presentation of the report on the Assembly Standing Committee.
The immediate past president of the Uniting Church Stuart McMillan said that the committee had diligently and faithfully attended to implementing the resolutions of the previous Assembly meeting.
While the Standing Committee, which met nine times in person and three times by teleconference during the past three years, had dealt with a very wide range of matter Mr McMillan highlighted three areas that had particular significance.
The first was the response to the Royal Commission into the Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse, the second was Sovereignty and Treaty with the First Peoples and the third church conversation on marriage and same-gender relationships.
These areas will all be the subject of separate reports and proposals to be brought before Assembly.
Standing Committee had also worked towards providing more strategic clarity and financial security for the Frontier Service ministries.
A question from the floor asked whether progress had been made on a previous Assembly resolution to pursue a separate treaty with the Yolngu people in Arnhem Land.
Mr McMillan said the Uniting Church had in various ways sought to support the treaty aspirations.