What is the Uniting Church in Australia?

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  • 1 decade ago
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    The Uniting Church in Australia (UCA) was formed on June 22, 1977 when many congregations of the Methodist Church of Australasia, Presbyterian Church of Australia, and Congregational Union of Australia came together under the Basis of Union.

    The third largest Christian denomination in Australia (the Roman Catholic and the Anglican churches are larger) the Uniting Church has around 243,000 members in 2,500 congregations.

    According to the Australian Census in 2006 there are 1,135,427 people identifying some sort of association with the Uniting Church. The National Church Life Survey (NCLS) research indicates that approximately 10% of these people attend a church worship gathering frequently.

    The Uniting Church is governed by a number of non-hierarchical inter-related councils that each have responsibility for various functions or roles within the denomination. The meetings of councils include:

    * Congregation (local)

    * Presbytery (regional)

    * Synod (state)

    * Assembly (national)

    The membership of each council is established by the Constitution. Each council includes both women and men, and lay (non-ordained) and ordained people. The offices of President of Assembly, Moderator of Synod (who chair these councils), and other such offices are open to all members of the UCA, whether lay or ordained, male or female.

    The UCA is a non-episcopal church, that is it has no bishops. The leadership and pastoral role in the UCA is performed by Presbytery as a body (meeting). However, many members appear to understand the 'Chairperson of Presbytery' or the 'Moderator' of the Synod as exercising this role. This position may be occupied by an ordained minister or a lay person. In many Presbyteries there is also a 'Presbytery Officer' who may be ordained or a lay-minister. The Presbytery Officer in many cases functions as a Pastoral Minister, a pastor to the pastors (a Pastor Pastorum) to people in ministry. Other Presbyteries use this position for mission consultancy work and others for administrative work.

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