Safer churches

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The Uniting Church Assembly has recently changed section 5.2 of the Regulations (Pastoral Care of Members) in an effort to curb unwelcome behaviour.

Among the changes is a new section about elders and church councillor behaviour. Behaviour that is deemed inappropriate can now be referred to the presbytery pastoral relations committee who can determine whether the member can be removed from office.

Rev Lauren Mosso is the ethical standards officer with the Culture of Safety unit. She said the new regulations reflect the changing role of elders within church communities.

“Today it would be the church council’s responsibility to exercise pastoral discipline,” Ms Mosso said. “The council of elders has largely been taken over by the church council, which deals with many other issues; where before the elders were concerned mainly with pastoral care and membership issues.”

Ms Mosso would like to encourage members to make use of resources developed by the Queensland synod to help church leaders discuss the Code of Ethics and Ministry practice.

The Culture of Safety unit is also seeking people interested in creating a safe church. Safe church educator Josh Woollett is hoping people passionate about protecting children and vulnerable adults will take advantage of the opportunity to become a trainer in their church.

“We’re excited to announce we are seeking expression of interest from across the synod for congregational members to join our work in promoting and creating a safe church for all,” Mr Woollett said.

Training and ongoing support will be provided, and Mr Woollett said he is especially keen to encourage people from Tasmania and rural areas of the synod to apply.

For more information on the new regulations go to:

For discussion resources go to:

To contact Josh Woollett: ph: (03) 9340 8810 or email:

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