No consensus on eldership proposal

The Uniting Church in Australia has been unable to achieve consensus on a proposal to amend regulations regarding eldership and church councils.

The results from the facilitation group on the issue of eldership in Uniting Church congregations was presented by Rev. Jenny Byrnes.

“Eleven of the 20 working groups only gave qualified support to the direction,” said Rev. Byrnes.

Two groups indicated it was unnecessary for the Assembly meeting to consider this issue at all, and there was concern among working groups that the small congregations, culturally and linguistically diverse communities, and congregations without a minister would not be served well by the proposal.

The need for education around the nature of spiritual leadership was also identified.

“After reading feedback, the facilitation group noted what might be described as an apparent lack of passion or energy for the discussion,” said Rev. Byrnes.

The facilitation group brought a slightly amended form of the proposal, but the Assembly indicated a significant lack of support.

As a consequence, the issue was passed back to the Assembly Standing Committee to undertake further work on “the nature, role and function of leadership within the life of a congregation and the place of eldership within the congregation.”

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