1.1 The purpose of this Report is to enable members of the Assembly, collaboratively, to discern whether the UnitingWorld’s direction and operation are appropriately responsive to the call of God on the Uniting Church at this time. If any part of this report is unclear or suggests further questions, Assembly members are encouraged to visit the UnitingWorld website in the first instance or to email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1.2 The Report:
a. Purpose and vision of the Agency
b. Major changes since the Assembly last met in 2012
c. Challenges the Agency faces
d. Issues with which the Agency is grappling
e. Directions and intentions for the three years (2015 – 2018)
2. PURPOSE AND VISION OF THE AGENCY
2.1 The Uniting Church in Australia, through its Basis of Union is committed to being a part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. “It believes that Christians in Australia are called to bear witness to a unity of faith and life in Christ which transcends cultural and economic, national and racial boundaries, and to this end the Uniting Church commits itself to seek special relationships with Churches in Asia and the Pacific.” In this regard the Uniting Church has a unique pattern of overseas church partnerships. These partnerships often stretch back over many years and the Uniting Church is frequently held in very high esteem by our overseas church partners (ours) for the journey we have shared with them.
2.2 The Agency has continued to refine and focus its purpose over the last three years to meet the changing nature of both the Uniting Church and our Partners.
2.3 The Agency sees itself as a facilitator of genuine, ongoing partnerships between our Partners and the Uniting Church; partnerships that bring benefit to both. By facilitating meaningful connections with the Uniting Church and other regional partners, our Partners are supported to develop their leadership, organisations and resources, leading to transformation of their local communities. By enabling connections with our Partners that create awareness and encourage engagement, individuals and groups within the Uniting Church are inspired and transformed.
2.4 UnitingWorld seeks to remind the Uniting Church of the need for every part of the Church to live out its catholic and global identity and for the Church to rediscover the wealth of life offered by our Partners.
3. MAJOR CHANGES SINCE 2012 GOVERNANCE
3.1 The Agency has two Units, Church Connections and Relief and Development. The Church Connections Unit includes programs of solidarity with international partners, advocacy and support for church ministry. This unit includes the placement of Uniting Church people with our Partners, and the hosting of our Partners in Australia. The facilitation of short term, In-Solidarity visits by groups of people from the Uniting Church to our Partners is undertaken through the Church Connections Unit. The Relief and Development Unit supports our Partners in providing emergency relief and sustainable community development projects in the areas of health, education, economic and social empowerment.
The need for two separate Units arose because Relief and Development was seen as having discrete purposes and ways of operating. The Relief and Development Unit is accredited with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), is a member of the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and a member of the ACT Alliance, a coalition of more than 140 churches and affiliated organisations each of whom are in turn affiliated with the World Council of Churches. Each of these bodies has rigorous criteria with which the Relief and Development Unit must comply.
3.2 Both the Church Connections Unit and the Relief and Development Unit have their own governing bodies in the form of National Committees. The Relief and Development National Committee has been in place since 2000 while the Church Connections National Committee has been in place since 2012. The chairs of the two National Committees are appointed by Assembly and the members are appointed by the Assembly Standing Committee. There is a matrix of the skills that are considered important for the effective running of the National Committees. Members are appointed on the basis of the skills that they collectively bring to the work of the National Committees. There is a data-base of prospective members. Both National Committees operate as classic governance bodies adopting three-year strategic plans, approving annual business plans, monitoring achievement, establishing and monitoring budgets, managing risk, ensuring compliance, setting policies and contributing to the review of the National Director. It does not employ or manage the Director or adopt the budget, tasks that rest with the Assembly Standing Committee and the Assembly General Secretary. Both Units produce an Annual Report available on the UnitingWorld website.
3.3 Since the formation of the Church Connections National Committee there has been strong consultation and interaction between the two National Committees. This has taken the form of regular interaction between the chairs, sharing of minutes and common reporting formats. Since 2013 the Governance and Compliance sub-committees of the two National Committees have begun meeting together once annually. This provides the venue for the review of the UnitingWorld agency wide risk register and governance policy documents. This prevents unnecessary repetition or confusion between the two governance bodies or the creation of unnecessary additional work for staff of the Agency. This joint group also meets with Assembly Finance Audit and Risk Committee to ensure the whole Agency is complying with Assembly policy and meeting all requirements.
3.4 Conscious of the need for the highest possible standards of governance and the wise stewardship of the generous donations of people from the wider church, the members of both National Committees have undertaken professional training in Governance provided by the Australian Institute of Company Directors. In line with good governance principles both National Committees have undertaken evaluations of their overall effectiveness and that of the chairs.
3.5 The two National Committees have worked constructively to develop one Strategic Plan for the Agency, one Risk Register and one Governance manual. This has led them to consider the potential for merging the two Units into a single governance body with sub-committees responsible for the different aspects (Relief and Development and Church Connections) of the Agency’s work. This is seen by the committees to be a more effective use of the resources of the Agency and will avoid unnecessary duplication of effort.
3.6 The Agency expresses appreciation to those who have served on National Committees over the last three years. UnitingWorld could not have achieved what it did without their thoughtful and insightful contributions.
4. GENERAL PERFORMANCE
4.1 Staffing and structure
4.1.1 The Agency has undergone some restructuring and staff changes over the last three years while maintaining the same staffing level and program focus. Currently the Agency has 19 staff based in Australia and 2 in Fiji employed in partnership with the Methodist Church in Fiji.
4.1.2 In 2014 the Agency farewelled previous National Director, Rev Dr Kerry Enright, who returned to New Zealand to take up a ministry placement with the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.
4.1.3 Rev John Barr, Associate Director Church Solidarity, Asia concluded in 2012, Kathy Pereira concluded as Associate Director Church Connections in 2013 and Bruce Mullan concluded as Associate Director Church Solidarity, Pacific. A number of other staff also moved on to other opportunities during the period since the last Assembly.
4.1.4 Over the last three years the Agency has welcomed a number of new staff including Rev Dr Ji Zhang, Rev Seforosa Carroll, Dr Sureka Goringe, Matthew Tyne and Marnie Frost into the organisation.
4.2.1 During the last period the Agency successfully undertook a shift from a Calendar Year financial year to a July-June financial year. This now aligns the Agency much more effectively with its key funding sources including the Australian Government.
4.2.2 Funding from the National Assembly has been reducing, with the Relief and Development Unit no longer receiving funding from the Synods through the Assembly Fund. Similarly, the Church Connections Unit has seen substantial decreases in Assembly funding over the three years.
4.2.3 The last 18 months has seen the former Australian Government Agency for International Development (AusAID) incorporated into the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). This merger has been part of a wider contraction in overseas aid. Despite this, the Relief and Development Unit has seen relatively stable AusAID/DFAT funding whilst our donor funding has grown.
4.2.4 The Church Connections Unit has also increased donor funding during the period.
4.3 Overseas Programs
4.3.1 UnitingWorld continues to maintain partnerships with 37 overseas partner churches across the Pacific, Asia and Africa. Not all partnerships receive the same level of engagement and not all our Partners have programs within them that require funding. Both Church Connections and Relief and Development provide funding for discreet programs within the partnerships.
4.3.2 The Church Connections Unit has engaged in theological reflection about the major growth of Christianity in the Asia-Pacific region. The Unit has seen its mission priority continue to move from the traditional model of church’s mission to the margins to a more clearly defined partnership model of working with God’s mission in the margins. This partnership model is designed to position the Uniting Church in this regional transformation through key program areas that have a clear intention to grow relationships of mutual benefit, giving and receiving the gifts of ministry and fellowship of faith within the universal Body of Christ. As such the Unit has clarified its overseas program focus with an emphasis on supporting our Partners in Christian Leadership, Relationships between churches through the exchange of people and also assisting our Partner in their Ministry in the Margins.
4.3.3 Church Connections has further developed the new partnership with the China Christian Council (CCC). UnitingWorld involvement includes supporting theological training and church leadership development in the CCC as well as facilitating a growing relationship between UnitingCare Australia and the Department of Social Services in the CCC. This latter relationship focuses on capacity building in the area of aged care. UnitingWorld has also facilitated engagement between the Uniting Church and CCC through continuing dialogue in the area of the unity of the church, especially through the national conference on the Basis of Union, and the nature of post-denominational church.
4.3.4 Our Experience Programme continues to place up to 70 people per year overseas. This is very positive given that UnitingWorld is not in a position to financially support volunteers. UnitingWorld has supported 25 groups to travel overseas to visit our Partners. There is an increasing interest among Uniting Church members which UnitingWorld is seeking to nurture, for using this short exchange platform to grow in understanding of other cultures and countries through our Partners.
4.3.5 Relief and Development successfully achieved reaccreditation with AusAID / DFAT in 2012 and has continued to clarify and focus the work of the Unit since. The program focus is on Education, Health including Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Economic Empowerment and Social Empowerment including Peacebuilding. Some smaller programs have concluded and the Unit has increased its focus at a regional level. This has taken the shape of regional partner engagement in South Asia, South East Asia and the Pacific. Currently the Unit supports 23 programs and projects across 17 Partners.
4.3.6 The Pacific Program has seen UnitingWorld adopt a cross-agency approach with the establishment of a small office in Suva, Fiji in partnership with the Methodist Church in Fiji. The focus of the Pacific Office is to work alongside our Pacific Partners in the areas of Gender, Women’s Empowerment, Gender-based Violence and Climate Change. The recruitment of Rev Dr Cliff Bird, a highly regarded Pacific Theologian and Ms Kerren Vali, an experienced development practitioner to work from Fiji and also the addition of Rev Seferosa Carroll as the Church Connections Manager Pacific Partnerships has enhanced our efforts in this regard.
4.3.7 The last three years has seen a developing of our relationship with the Methodist Church Sri Lanka. This has seen a number of relief activities being undertaken. Three new programmes have begun; one working with women who have been impacted by the war; another providing education and training for children and youth with disabilities, mostly the result of injuries incurred during the war; and an ambitious peace building project that attempts to build coalitions for inter-religious and inter-ethnic harmony in 10 districts.
4.3.8 The Relief and Development Unit has become more actively involved in the Australian Council for International Development, has been consistently active in the Church Agencies Network, a network of Australian church agencies including Act for Peace, and has participated in a number of roundtables relating to issues about which the Government, AusAID/DFAT or others have sought input. The Relief and Development Unit has been an active member of the ACT Alliance, the development network of the World Council of Churches, recently taking up a position on the international governing board.
4.3.9 Membership of the ACT Alliance has enabled the Relief and Development Unit to provide support for emergency relief activities in countries where we have no active partner organisation or where the response that the combined members of the ACT Alliance will bring about the best outcomes for people impacted. When Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines UnitingWorld received a very strong response from across the Uniting Church. These funds were directed through the ACT Alliance to several member organisations who had the capacity to respond appropriately.
5. In-Australia Activities
5.1 UnitingWorld devotes considerable time and resources to engaging the Uniting Church and its members. This effort seeks to facilitate awareness of God’s mission in the world beyond Australia, the changing nature of the Church across the world and the particular contexts and challenges of our Partners. Groups within the Uniting Church are supported to develop strong, mutual, respectful relationships with our Partners. In this regard, UnitingWorld has facilitated 110 groups including a number of congregations and presbyteries, and 13 schools to develop and maintain international partnerships.
5.2 Communities within the Uniting Church with significant links to churches overseas continue to enrich and assist UnitingWorld. Overseas church partnerships managed by UnitingWorld are influenced by the contribution of people who significantly identify with or wish to support those overseas partners. These communities provide expert advice and networks into the Uniting Church and wider community. Partnerships, for example, with the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan and the Methodist Church in Fiji continue to grow and be shaped by the support and encouragement of related communities in the Uniting Church. At the same time, there are many communities within the life of the Uniting Church for whom the Uniting Church does not have an existing partnership with the overseas church they identify with or wish to support. Scarce resources make it difficult for UnitingWorld to expand its number of partner churches or the depth and breadth of its work with existing Partners to meet the interest we receive. In addition, it is not always easy to engage helpfully with transnational churches with a presence in Australia and where closely related communities are present in the Uniting Church. Perceived insensitivity in the Uniting Church and in the transnational partner quickly leads to difficult relationships and misunderstandings. This is an area of work that takes time and care. In each of these areas we have worked closely with the National Director of Multicultural and Cross Cultural Ministry and thank Rev Dr Tony Floyd for his support.
5.3 UnitingWorld has run, in collaboration with the Anglican Board of Mission, a Wontok Schools Programme which develops awareness among students in Anglican and Uniting Church schools across Australia of the issues of global poverty and injustice and how we can respond.
5.4 Several Uniting Church Schools are actively involved in partnerships with overseas schools and churches through UnitingWorld.
5.5 Lent Event continues to be a major activity for UnitingWorld, providing Bible Study, prayer and reflection resources for congregations during Lent. Approximately 700 congregations and groups across the Uniting Church engage in Lent Event to some extent.
5.6 Everything in Common, the Agency’s gift catalogue has grown in reach and support and provided a useful entry point for some new donors.
5.7 UnitingWorld has actively engaged with the networks Micah Challenge and Make Poverty History, and is a participating Agency in the Campaign for Australian Aid. This is a campaign shared among a large number of agencies across Australia that seeks to reengage Australians in the issues of global poverty.
6. Challenges the Agency faces
6.1 Christianity in the world is going through a major transformation. The centre of Christianity has gradually moved away from the Global North to the Global South, from the traditional centre in the North Atlantic to the multiple regions of Asia, Africa, and South America. From our Partners UnitingWorld is learning that major mission activities are no longer externally driven from the wealthy nations to the poorer nations. Instead, the major growth in Christianity is now internally driven, often within the social and cultural margins. Like many mainstream churches, the Uniting Church is recognising a growing disjunction between the majority mindset of the Western tradition and the growth of Christianity among what might once have been considered minority peoples. The Uniting Church must now exist between the missionary paradigm of Gospel over Culture and the contextual understanding of God’s mission in the midst of cultural and religious pluralism.
6.2 A challenge for UnitingWorld is how to engage congregations and communities within the Uniting Church where international relationships have been established and are driven by the connections and enthusiasms of local members. As the means and opportunities for international travel continue to expand as does electronic communication, the potential for Uniting Church communities to be invited to participate in or contribute to some overseas activity continues to grow.
These activities often do not align with the Church’s longstanding partnerships and commitments and the wider Church’s Biblical and theological reflection on mission and development. At the local congregation and community level, local initiatives and local advocates are seen to awaken congregations, facilitating direct relationships and ownership. Frequently these initiatives bear the name of the Uniting Church at some level and can thus be confusing for church people within Australia and for our Partners. There is much duplication and fragmentation across the Church and some of the philosophies and practices of engaging overseas are regarded as unhelpful.
From a national perspective, long standing partnerships are in danger of shrivelling while partner churches can become confused by an array of Uniting Church groups engaging with them, around them to local communities directly and also bypassing our Partners by working with other in-country organisations.
The Uniting Church and UnitingWorld are not alone in confronting this complex situation. Other churches and mission agencies report similar challenges. UnitingWorld seeks to work in this context, on the one hand recognising the value of local ownership, and on the other enabling as much coordination and learning as possible. There is much more to be done. There is an ongoing need to define what work UnitingWorld is able to undertake, given its limited resources, including the human resources that are available. We are unable to sustain an unlimited number of church partnerships and will need to actively pursue some while allowing others to reduce in engagement.
6.3 The value of coordination of action to alleviate poverty and facilitate mission is well proven. The fragmentation of work across the Uniting Church limits support for our Partners. It reduces the effectiveness of programmes and the Uniting Church’s ability to influence institutions and Government policy. As the Uniting Church continues to reduce in size and many congregations decline in membership, it becomes increasingly difficult to encourage communities to engage in mission beyond Australia.
6.4 Since 2012, the bipartisan support of Labor and the Coalition for the Overseas Development Assistance Budget to increase to 0.5% of Gross National Income has been considerably eroded.
The current Federal Government has reduced the aid budget in real terms and also announced substantial cuts in future years. Predictions are that aid will reduce to 0.22% of GNI by 2017, a long way short of the previously targeted figure. At the time of writing this report the implications of these cuts on the Relief and Development Unit are unknown. However, broadly, Australia’s ability to support emergency relief and sustainable development initiatives among many of the poorest communities will be severely reduced.
These changes have in part come about because polling indicates that community support for overseas aid has fallen dramatically. Sentiments that Australia and Australians are struggling and that charity begins at home are prevailing in the current economic climate. Congregations are encouraged to advocate for continued commitment to overseas aid in their local electorates.
6.5 Through a number of positive initiatives, UnitingWorld’s profile within the Uniting Church has gradually increased, however it continues to have a low profile in many congregations and communities. The Agency continues to address this through visits to Synods, Presbyteries, Adult Fellowships and congregations along with improved written communication. Improved use of email news and social media, especially Facebook has been a focus in the least period.
6.6 In the Pacific in particular, there are challenges in assisting our Partners develop authentic, local theology and understanding of a range of issues impacting them where they are being deluged by Western understandings that can undermine valid indigenous approaches. For example, the widely reported incidence of domestic violence and violence against women and girls across the Pacific presents a challenge for our Partners where traditional Biblical understanding and Western discourse on human rights collide. UnitingWorld has established its Pacific Office specifically to work with our Partners to develop theological understanding and appropriate resources to assist our Partners in addressing such issues.
6.7 UnitingWorld seeks to be thoughtful about the extent to which it perpetuates a neo-liberal economic paradigm, inconsistent with the Christian faith, through its development programmes. In accepting DFAT funding, the Relief and Development National Committee is attentive to the danger of its programs being directed by ideologies inconsistent with the Christian faith.
6.8 Involvement in advocacy is an area that UnitingWorld is seeking to expand, although this has moved slowly as key staff have changed. UnitingWorld will create various advocacy strategies to support localised advocacy efforts of our Partner through development of capacity in this area. UnitingWorld will to help Uniting Church congregations engage in advocacy, especially in their electorates. Some congregations have participated in advocacy concerning the overseas aid budget; others have expressed concern for the situation in West Papua. This is an area where UnitingWorld plans to increase its effort.
7. Issues with which the Agency is grappling
7.1 Since South Sudan became an independent nation, UnitingWorld has been seeking relationship with the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan. Violence in 2013 caused major damage to our Partner’s operations in Malakal. The Presbyterian Relief and Development Agency (PRDA) midwife training school, supported by Relief and Development, has also been forced to relocate to north Kenya for the safety of students and staff and the continuation of the program.
7.2 Fiji has been a major focus of attention for a number of years as a result of a Military Government. The situation severely limited the freedom of the Methodist Church in Fiji with whom the Uniting Church has a very close relationship. In the last year Fiji has undertaken democratic elections and the situation for our Partner has improved considerably. They now have growing, positive relationships with government and were able to celebrate their 50th Anniversary as an independent conference in August 2014. UnitingWorld has further strengthened our work with the Methodist Church through the establishment of our Pacific Office.
7.3 In relation to Papua, UnitingWorld has worked to expand the level of engagement with our Partner, the Evangelical Christian Church in the Land of Papua. It has met with representatives of the Indonesian Government to communicate the Church’s desire to contribute to the peaceful development of Papua. Increased programme support and support for leadership training have taken place.
7.4 UnitingWorld has begun an evaluation of its engagement in North Korea, and is seeking to link with other ecumenical partners to maximise the impact of our efforts.
8. Directions and Intentions for the Future (2015-2018)
8.1 The Agency developed a single Strategic Plan for 2015 – 2017 that has been adopted by the National Committees of both the Relief and Development Unit and the Church Connections Unit.
8.2 The mission and vision statements and the key goals for the Agency are:
Uniting World works through partnerships with churches in Asia, Africa and the Pacific to call and connect the Uniting Church in Australia to active participation in
• mission, discipleship and the training of leaders
• enabling communities to address the causes and consequences of poverty, injustice and violence through effective relief and development programs
Transformed communities, honouring God, experiencing hope and well-being, free from poverty and injustice, achieved through genuine and vibrant partnerships
1. Creative and capable partnerships with overseas churches and agencies bringing about effective transformation of their local communities
2. Through growing engagement and support, Australian communities and people, especially in the Uniting Church, are empowered to be effective global partners through UnitingWorld
3. Key stakeholders recognising and trusting UnitingWorld as a leading mission, relief and development agency offering leadership in the Uniting Church and beyond
4. Resourced and positioned to realise our vision
8.3 UnitingWorld is conscious that to achieve its goals, it must increase its profile across the Uniting Church, becoming a known and trusted point of contact for congregations and members wishing to engage in mission and development. This will involve building our capacity to relate to people, to encourage and value their interest and engagement. This will also require UnitingWorld to grow its fundraising from Uniting Church donors on whom it relies and who have been increasingly generous. That will be a priority for the next three years.
8.4 The richness and strength of the Uniting Church’s overseas partnerships is in danger of fading from the collective consciousness of the Uniting Church. It is dependent on the extent to which people in the Uniting Church now give expression to the relationships that have been established and maintained over the years. In this respect, as UnitingWorld finds ways to maintain these partnerships and provide support and funding for initiatives that enhance the life and witness of our Partners, the imperative of encouraging congregations and communities, groups and individuals to participate in those partnerships remains crucial. This is the greatest opportunity and challenge UnitingWorld faces.
2. The work that the Agency has undertaken with our Partners during the last three years has been diverse, often challenging and inspiring. The impact of our programs, both here in Australia and overseas has been significant. It remains vitally important for Australia as a nation and the Uniting Church to remain outward looking, engaging positively and productively in the world beyond our shores. UnitingWorld looks forward to playing a key role in facilitate this engagement over the next three years.
Chair, UnitingWorld Church Connections National Committee
Chair, UnitingWorld Relief and Development National Committee
APPENDIX A UNITINGWORLD RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT UNIT MANDATE
Responsible to: The Assembly through UnitingWorld
Reporting Arrangements: The Assembly and the Standing Committee through UnitingWorld, and to UCA Assembly Ltd
Mission Statement: To hear and respond to the expressed needs of communities in Asia, the Pacific and Africa through aid and development programs that alleviate poverty
1. To work in partnership with churches, councils of churches and other appropriate agencies, to develop policies and programs that have the aim of transforming communities through sustainable development.
2. To implement development policies and programs that:
• Assist communities in developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development
• Address the causes of poverty and promote justice, peace and civil society
• Meet human needs that result from natural disasters and emergencies and to assist people to recover as soon as possible
• Are effective and well managed and reflect good planning, monitoring and evaluation of projects and programs
• Give special attention to the development of our capacity and the capacity of our partners.
3. To be open and clear in informing supporters and the Church about the activities undertaken and to develop their awareness of issues related to aid and development.
4. To seek support for aid and development activities including the following major areas:
• Community development
• Justice and peace building
• Emergency relief; disaster recovery and refugee support
• Training and capacity building
• Development education
5. To maintain a partnership with AusAID through participation in its various programs with NGO’s (such as ANCP and PNG Church Partnership Program) and to maintain membership in the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) and to meet the requirements of the ACFID Code of Conduct.
Relationship with UnitingWorld:
The Relief and Development Unit is a unit of UnitingWorld.
Power to Appoint:
To establish sub-committees and working groups for various tasks related specifically to the mandate.
The National Director of UnitingWorld will be the Director of the Relief and Development Unit of UnitingWorld. Whenever a National Director of UnitingWorld is appointed specific attention will be given to the specific skills and expertise required to undertake the role of Director of the Relief and Development Unit of UnitingWorld.
Membership of the UnitingWorld – Relief and Development National Committee:
The election of the National Committee will occur every three years at the Assembly Standing Committee meeting following the three yearly Assembly meeting; casual vacancies to be appointed by the Standing Committee as required.
In appointing members of the National Committee the Assembly Standing Committee will bear in mind the requirement that Committee members must demonstrate a commitment to issues of aid and development. Also they must have an openness to learn more in key areas of the work of the Relief and Development Unit of UnitingWorld such as aid and development programs, education and advocacy, and promotions and finance.
• A Chairperson appointed by the Triennial Assembly on the nomination of the National Committee
• Eleven persons appointed by the Standing Committee after considering recommendations made by the Director of UnitingWorld – Relief and Development. Not more than two of these twelve persons may be staff of any Assembly agency
• The National Director of UnitingWorld – Relief and Development
• The Assembly General Secretary or his/her nominee.
Governance and Other Organisational Matters:
The Governance and key organisational matters for the Relief and Development Unit of UnitingWorld are stated in the attached Appendix and in a Governance Document maintained by the National Committee of the Relief and Development Unit of UnitingWorld.
Approved by the Assembly Standing Committee, March 2012
(Please note that the additional documents mentioned in this Mandate are not provided.)
APPENDIX B UNITINGWORLD CHURCH CONNECTIONS UNIT MANDATE
Responsible to: The Assembly
Reporting Arrangements: The Assembly and the Assembly Standing Committee
Mission Statement: In response to God’s purpose for the world and its peoples, in collaboration with the Relief and Development Unit, to focus the vision and utilise the resources of the Church through:
• Participating in God’s mission in the world in obedience to the call of Christ (Refer Basis of Union paragraphs 1 & 2);
• Encouraging and facilitating the Church to pray, study and participate in the mission of God in the world;
• Building and strengthening inter-church partnerships in mission and discipleship, including evangelism, particularly in Asia, the Pacific and Africa; and
• Enabling the Church to hear and respond to the needs of people, especially those in greatest need, throughout the world.
1. To provide leadership for the church in its calling as part of the one holy catholic and apostolic church, to bear witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ among all peoples;
2. To work in partnership with churches, councils of churches and other appropriate agencies, to develop policies and programs in mission, discipleship, evangelism, education, welfare, community development, justice, peace and human rights including political engagement and advocacy;
3. To contribute to the worldwide endeavour of theological discussion and program innovation in the areas of bilateral and multilateral church to church partnerships in mission;
4. To develop, encourage and lead the Church’s partnership in mission with churches overseas, especially in Asia, the Pacific and Africa in the context of the 21st century;
5. To develop relationships and innovative means of working with synods, presbyteries, congregations and groups across the life of the Church to facilitate international mission within the mission of God in the world;
6. To ensure that the international mission of the church is shared with and promoted to all sectors of the church; and
7. To emphasise a particular care for and solidarity with communities in greatest need.
Power to Appoint:
To establish sub-committees and working groups for various tasks related specifically to the Mandate.
The National Director of UnitingWorld will be the Director of the Church Connections Unit of UnitingWorld. Whenever a National Director of UnitingWorld is appointed attention will be given to the skills and expertise required to undertake the role of Director of the Church Connections Unit of UnitingWorld.
As a Unit of the Assembly’s Agency UnitingWorld, Church Connections will have the following general responsibilities:
1. Focusing the activities of the Agency on the vision of the Assembly as a whole;
2. Advising the Assembly and/or the Assembly Standing Committee on policy matters within their area of responsibility;
3. Making policy decisions where the Assembly or the Assembly Standing Committee has delegated authority for certain policy areas, either through the Mandate or by resolution; and
4. Implementing policies determined by the Assembly and/or the Assembly Standing Committee through the National Director, other Agency staff and volunteers.
Membership of the UnitingWorld Church Connections Unit National Committee:
The election of the National Committee will occur every three years at the Assembly Standing Committee meeting following the three yearly Assembly meeting. Casual vacancies will be filled by the Assembly Standing Committee as required.
In appointing members of the National Committee the Assembly Standing Committee will bear in mind the requirement that Committee members must demonstrate a commitment to issues relevant to the work of the Church Connections Unit. The Assembly Standing Committee may appoint people who are not members, members-in-association or adherents of the UCA where they have appropriate expertise and are prepared to serve in harmony with the ethos of the UCA and to work to achieve the objects of the Unit. Members must also have an openness to learn more in key areas of the work.
Membership of the National Committee:
• A Chairperson appointed by the Triennial Assembly on the nomination of the National Committee
• Eleven persons appointed by the Assembly Standing Committee after considering recommendations made by the National Director of UnitingWorld – Church Connections. Not more than two of these twelve persons may be staff of any Assembly Agency;
• The National Director of UnitingWorld – Church Connections; and
• The Assembly General Secretary or his/her nominee.
Governance and Other Organisational Matters:
The Governance and key organisational matters for the Church Connections Unit of UnitingWorld are stated in the attached Appendix and in the Governance Document maintained by the National Committee of the Church Connections Unit of UnitingWorld.
Relationship with UnitingWorld Relief and Development Unit:
While operating distinctly, the Church Connections Unit will work in close collaboration with the Relief and Development Unit, ensuring an integrated approach to the Church’s partnerships wherever possible.
Approved by the Assembly Standing Committee, March 2012.
(Please note that the additional documents mentioned in this Mandate are not provided.)