Churches sign agreement

Moderator David Fotheringham and Archbishop Philip Freier sign the Memorandum of Understanding last Thursday.

History was created recently when the Uniting Church’s Synod of Victoria and Tasmania and the Anglican Church put pen to paper on a significant agreement.

On August 23, agreement was reached to adopt a series of documents outlining reciprocal protocols regarding clearance for ministry, guidelines for co-operation in congregational activity, a model Memorandum of Understanding for joint congregations, and a document of glossaries of terms and an overview of governance structures to help in understanding between Anglican and Uniting Church members.

Moderator David Fotheringham and Anglican Church Metropolitan of the Province of Victoria, Archbishop Philip Freier, then signed a Memorandum of Understanding on guidelines for joint and co-operating congregations, and a document regarding reciprocal protocols regarding clearance for ministry, in Melbourne last Thursday.

The signing took place at the St Patrick’s Ministry Centre (Catholic), following a meeting of the Victorian Church Leaders Network.

The groundwork for the agreement was laid at an Assembly level in 2015 when Uniting Church members affirmed the ‘Weaving a New Cloth’ statement, outlining opportunities for shared hospitality, mission and witness between the two Churches.

“The ACA-UCA dialogue developed a framework for local co-operation between Anglican and Uniting Churches throughout Australia,” David said.

“This was based on the earlier Trinity Declaration, and was received by the General Synod of the Anglican Church in 2014, and by the 2015 Assembly of the UCA.

“Work has been done, before and since, by the Joint Standing Commission, to prepare a relatively straightforward handbook and guidelines for local examples of co-operation, with subsequent follow-up.”

David said work had also been under way for some time to establish clear protocols for recognising the two Churches’ processes around code of conduct and safe church compliance for ministers, priests, and authorised lay pastors.

“Culture of Safety Manager Rev Dr Morag Logan has had a lot to do with this, in both her Safe Church capacity and also as the former chairperson of the Joint Standing Commission,” David said.

“Subsequent work between myself, Anglican Diocese of Victoria Executive Officer Ken Hutton, and Presbytery representatives and Bishops brought the documents to the point of sign-off.

“These documents will be circulated among Presbyteries and Joint Congregations, and will be made available in an appropriate location on the Uniting Church Synod website in due course.”




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