The Commission for Mission (CFM) is exploring ways to improve Church processes when appointing or suggesting individuals for board appointments in institutions. This includes UCA community service agencies and schools.
CFM director of relationships innovation, Adrian Pyle said there were already very good members of boards throughout the synod but improvements in processes for selecting future appointments was an ongoing venture.
“We want a better knowledge of the group of people we have within the Church community who might be placed on boards in some cases and recommended to be on boards in others,” Mr Pyle said.
The three key areas which were identified as highly desirable for board members include: governance experience, a depth of knowledge of the Uniting Church in Australia and wisdom.
“We will need a good cohort of people who demonstrate strength in these three areas as well as other professional skills they may bring with them,” he said.
Experience in good governance practices is desired on institutional boards in any organisation, but Mr Pyle said it was especially needed within synod institutions.
“Governance is an important endeavour in its own right and there are a certain set of skills people should have relating to the effective governance of organisations.
“That includes significant financial acumen and ability to interrogate the organisation’s financial health, the ability to represent the organisation, the ability to use your networks appropriately in furthering the mission of the organisation and the ability to ensure the risk profile of the organisation is appropriate for the work that it’s doing,” Mr Pyle said.
He said it was also important for people to have a strong understanding of the nature of the UCA as the organisation operated quite differently to many other churches and corporate organisations.
“It’s highly desirable to have people with an in-depth understanding of the reality of the Uniting Church.
“We need people who understand our processes, who to talk to within the Church, an understanding of how we go about our consensual decision making processes and how the inter-conciliar councils operate.
“These are not the processes most organisations use within their operational structures,” he said.
In regards to wisdom Mr Pyle said he felt wisdom meant much more than just having a lot of experience over many years.
“We are searching for people who add to and enhance the current wisdom on institution boards. These are people who can sit in the midst of fellow board members and actually lift the level of conversation up to one where the board thinks creatively about alternate ways to address issues and who are the people with whom the board needs to connect to deal with complex realities.
“We are not interested in knee-jerk reactions, we are not interested in doing things just the way they are in the corporate sphere; we need to bring that kind of wisdom to our boards,” Mr Pyle said.
Those interested in serving the Church by participation on institution boards should express their interest with cover letter and resume to Ms Kym Dyson, CFM executive assistant: firstname.lastname@example.org or ph: (03) 9251 5280.