40. REGULATION 5.1.3 (Synod of Victoria and Tasmania)

That the Assembly

authorise the Assembly Standing Committee, on the advice of the Legal Reference Committee, to amend Regulation 5.1.3 in the following terms.

BY WHOM EXERCISED

5.1.3 Discipline is to be exercised by the Church Council on behalf of the Congregation in the case of members, except in the case of allegations of sexual misconduct, and by the Presbytery and Synod in the case of Ministers.
5.1.3 Discipline is to be exercised by:
a) The Church Council on behalf of the Congregation in the case of members, except in the case of allegations of sexual misconduct;
b) The Presbytery when a Presbytery determines a Church Council has not adequately dealt with a discipline matter in relation to a member of the congregation;
c) The Presbytery upon a request of a Church Council if the Church Council considers it is not able to deal with a concern due to a member’s involvement in the congregation;
d) The Presbytery and Synod in the case of Ministers.

Rationale:

There is currently no provision in the Regulations for a Presbytery to step in when a complaint is made about a member of a church council or congregation. In an ideal world a Church Council would acknowledge the conflict of interest in dealing with a complaint related to a member of the church council and in some cases a member(s) of the congregation; and refer the complaint to the Presbytery. However this has not been our experience in a number of circumstances. Reluctance to refer such matters to the Presbytery has typically resulted in unhelpful and difficult processes developing within the life of the Church Council / congregation as a discipline matter in these contexts has been addressed. The new (b) circumvents the need for a Church Council resolving to refer the matter to the Presbytery.

The remainder of the proposed changes to 5.1.3 seek to provide clarification to other elements of the regulation.