Uniting Church Adult Fellowship National Committee
Joan Stott Bursary Awarded
Congratulations to Laura Rose (Synod of VIC/TAS) and Michaela Anthill-Cassie (Synod of NSW/ACT), the two recipients of the Joan Stott Bursary for study in 2024.
In May 2021 the UCAF National Committee changed its structure to a representative national committee that includes an elected Executive and representatives from Synod UCAF Committees, where they are in place. This new committee commenced its term on 1 July 2021 with the following office-bearers:
Mrs Margaret Pedler, Chairperson
Mrs Pam Grant, Secretary
Rev John Connan, Treasurer
The new structure will streamline the operations of the committee in the future. The committee has also changed how and when it will meet with the UCAF groups. Previously there were two national events held every three years – Consultation, being the ‘business’ meeting and Celebration, being a time of learning, sharing and bible study. These two events have been combined into one and will be known as National Gathering – picking up on the regional gatherings of UCAF groups held across Presbyteries. A business session will be built into the agenda to deal with those matters that require wider discernment and decision.
The work of the committee is quite different in many ways to the previous model, but there is a lot that is the same. We are looking forward to taking adult fellowship into the future.
Each triennium the National Committee determines a theme and bible text as a foundation for its work. For the Triennium 2021 – 2024 the theme Travelling a New Road was chosen, as we felt this best fitted to where we were and what we would be doing. The bible verse is Isaiah 43 18-19. The image below was selected to also reflect our theme and will be used in all reports, correspondence.
The National Committee also determines projects that fit within the theme; these are promoted within the UCAF Groups across the country with a view of the groups raising funds for the various projects – often up to three per triennium.
The National UCAF Committee is a Unit within the South Pacific Area (SPA) of the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women (WFMUCW)*. Through this association the projects being looked at currently are climate related, and based around the Sustainable Development Goals identified by SPA, being #13 Climate Action, #14 Life Below Water and #15 Life on Land. Read more here: https://sdgs.un.org/goals
In response to the Climate Action goal, the committee designed a series of post-cards that were distributed to UCAF groups for their members to sign and post to the Prime Minister of Australia and/or their local members, prior to the federal election in 2022. We will never know of their impact, but the response was good with many cards being sent to Canberra.
There is still a small supply available – contact John Connan firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange delivery.
The post-cards can be viewed here (copies to be obtained from John Connan)
Other projects that fit within scope of the Sustainable Development Goals will be identified in the coming months, and information updated here.
The UCAF NC is required to meet 6 times per year. The regular meetings via Zoom have been a plus for this group as they began their work in 2021. While we weren’t able to be in the one room, we were able to connect with each other and develop a sense of belonging.
Under the new arrangements the UCAF NC is called to meet face-to-face once annually. It was planned for this first meeting to take place in Melbourne in March 2022, but owing to travel restrictions (COVID related) it was deferred until July.
We were delighted to meet in the Vic/Tas Synod office over two days. The agenda was a large one, but having a longer time to delve into the matters under consideration and what the future might be for UCAF groups was greatly appreciated by the members. Also, the times of fellowship enabled the members to get to know each other a little better.
We were also delighted on this occasion to meet with Assembly President, Rev Sharon Hollis and gain a greater understanding of the relationship we have with the Assembly and the work of the Assembly.
The next face-to-face meeting will be held in conjunction with the National Gathering to be held in Adelaide early in 2024.
UCAF National Committee 2024 National Gathering
The UCAF National Committee is holding its first National Gathering in Adelaide over the period Monday 22 January to Friday 26 January 2024.
This National Gathering will bring together parts of the previous National Celebration and the National Consultation. If you have previously attended either of these UCAF NC events, this new National Gathering is something you may not want to miss!
There will be opportunity to gather with UCAF friends from across Australia, renewing old friendships and creating new ones. There will also be opportunity to explore parts of the Adelaide Hills where the Gathering will be held, plus guest speakers from a variety of UCA agencies and interest groups. Read more here.
With the Consultation now being part of the Gathering, decisions of the UCAF National Committee that would have been dealt with at a Consultation will now be dealt in shorter business sessions spread across the five days of the meeting.
One of the key matters will be the election of office-bearers for the next triennium; from 1 July 2024 to 30 June 2027.
Register by 22 December 2023. Download the Registration Form here.
The last national UCAF celebration held in Geelong in 2016.
World Federation of Methodist & Uniting Church Women
South Pacific Area Seminar 2024
The next South Pacific Area (SPA) Seminar is being hosted by the Samoan Unit of the WFMUCW and will be held in Samoa from the 4th to 8th September 2024 at the Tanoa Hotel, Apia. Registrations are now open for this event that will bring Christian women from across the South Pacific Area together, to share in Bible Studies led by Dr Mercy Maliko, fellowship, community meals, Opening Worship service in Faleula, Samoa.
The UCAF NC is affiliated with the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women (WFMUCW) https://wfmucw.org/ - the World Federation’s logo is the Tree of Life. This relationship provides
- Links with millions of Christian Women across the world in 9 geographical Areas, but more closely with our Christian sisters in the South Pacific area. Australia along with New Zealand, Tonga, Samoa, Fiji, Solomon Islands, and Papua New Guinea is one of the Units in the South Pacific Area.
- Opportunities for young Christian women to be involved in international programs through the WFMUCW, being the Helen Kim Scholarship and Bossey Study Program. For information about these programs go to https://wfmucw.org/about/helen-kim-memorial-scholarship or https://wfmucw.org/about/bossey-study-program
- Connection with United Nations, where the World Federation has Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Through this, the World Federation is also linked with several other United Nations Programs and totally supports the Sustainable Development Goals.
Across Australia we have links with Australian Church Women, and we are exploring how we might develop links with other groups who are involved with ministry with adults from all walks of life.
We are seeking to develop closer relationships with the CALD congregations across the Uniting Church and have had some preliminary conversations.
The connection with the Synod UCAF committees has changed in some ways because of the representation on the committee. This connection offers greater awareness for the NC of what’s happening across Australia and enables us to explore how we can support those committees and/or their groups, if that is called for.
Currently there are Synod UCAF committees in New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory, South Australia, Victoria/Tasmania and Western Australia. It was with a great deal of sadness that we recognised the closure of the Queensland Synod UCAF Committee in June 2022.
For information regarding the Synod Committees, use the links below:
- New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory - ( Connect on Facebook )
- South Australia
- Victoria and Tasmania
- Western Australia
Like many areas across the Uniting Church, UCAF is undergoing change as groups close or alter the way they meet or determine a different purpose for themselves. The Synod UCAF Committees provide close connections for the many groups in their areas.
National Committee supports the Synod Committees as well those groups who are continuing where there is no committee, when they are able.
To facilitate this support we are developing resources. To date we have two:
Who we are? (Link to document) – a brief summary of who we are, what we do and how people / groups might connect with UCAF NC. We are also hoping this resource will assist in developing relationships with other groups across the Uniting Church.
Service for closing UCAF group (Link to document) – this is a template that groups can personalise and use if they are closing permanently, or closing and moving into something new.
Joan Stott Bursary Information
This bursary was established to recognise Joan Stott, an older member of the Uniting Church. One of her passions has been the role of elderly people in their congregations and the way they contribute in unique ways to the life of their church. On her appointment as UCAF National President in 1985, Joan also became involved in the World Federation of Methodist Women (WFMW) and in the Asia Pacific region attending international conferences and becoming editor of WFMW’s Tree of Life newsletter.
In 1996 she became WFMW world secretary at a time when the movement became the World Federation of Methodist and Uniting Church Women (WFMUCW).
Initially the bursary was for people under the age of 30, but this age limit was amended to ‘under the age of 50’ in November 2022.