B22 – Appointment of the General Secretary

The Standing Committee is delighted to bring to the 14th Assembly the recommendation that Colleen Geyer be appointed as General Secretary from the 1 January 2016.

The conclusion of Terence Corkin’s term as General Secretary on 31 December 2015, after fifteen years of distinguished service and leadership, necessitates the appointment of a new General Secretary by the 14th Assembly to succeed him. A Nomination Committee was appointed by the Standing Committee in July 2014 to facilitate this process. In March 2015 the Nomination Committee reported its unanimous recommendation to the Standing Committee. In an unusually long selection process the Nomination Committee was conscious of Ms Geyer’s deeply prayerful, sustained discernment process. In a strong field of applicants Colleen Geyer’s experience, ability, achievements and especially her clear sense of call to this ministry stood out to the Nominating Committee. The Standing Committee enthusiastically affirms her sense of vocation to the ministry of General Secretary at this critical time in the life of the Uniting Church and the Assembly.

Colleen Geyer is the Director of Mission at UnitingCare Queensland. She has previously held the positions of Director of Mission at BlueCare, Associate Director at UnitingCare Australia, Registrar of Coolamon College, and National Consultant for the Assembly Gospel and Gender Unit. Her academic qualifications include a Graduate Certificate in Executive Leadership (University of Queensland Business School, 2010) and a Bachelor of Theology (Brisbane College of Theology, 2003).

Ms Geyer is currently a member of the Executive Leadership Team of UnitingCare Queensland and the Governance Committee of the UnitingCare Queensland Board; the Queensland Synod Chaplaincy Commission, Placements Committee and Discipline Procedures Review Task group; and she chairs the UnitingCare Queensland Human Research Ethics Committee and the UnitingCare Australia Ministry & Mission National Network. She chairs the Board of Jabiru Community Youth and Children’s Services Association Inc, and is a member of the PASCOP (Pastoral and Spiritual Care of Older People) Inc. National Board.

Ms Geyer has a deep understanding of the vision, values and processes of the Uniting Church. She has had leadership roles in three Assembly agencies (Gospel & Gender, Coolamon College, UnitingCare Australia), worked within the Queensland Synod (Social Responsibility Advocate, Director of Mission Blue Care, Director of Mission UnitingCare Queensland), served on various committees, commissions and reference groups for the Assembly and the Synod, led the Review of Specified Ministries for the Assembly, contributed to the missional focus and facilitated the development of the first Strategic Plan for Australian Regional and Remote Community Services. She has been a Church Councillor and an Elder.

Ecumenically Ms Geyer has worked as the Christian World Service Coordinator with Queensland Churches Together, been a member of the Queensland Churches Together Indigenous Peoples Partnership. She is a current member of Queensland Churches Environmental Network and the Roman Catholic/Uniting Church National Dialogue. In 2014 she also participated in a World Council of Churches seminar on Green Churches in Geneva.

Colleen Geyer has a strong track record in team building, strategic planning, change management and building partnerships between the church’s councils and agencies. In her senior executive roles, she has experience and demonstrated skill in managing financial and human resources. She has developed a sophisticated understanding of risk management and governance. She is also experienced in providing executive support and guidance to national governance bodies, and in interpreting and applying the regulations of the Uniting Church.

Andrew Dutney
Convenor, Nominating Committee for the General Secretary

A Statement from the Nominee, Colleen Geyer

UntitledOver the past 20 years, I have worked in various Councils and agencies of the Uniting Church. This has given me a broad experience of the church, and has enabled me to develop a comprehensive picture and understanding of the Uniting Church. It has been my privilege to develop and hone my gifts and skills, my leadership abilities and style, and my executive management capacity within the Uniting Church. It is my faith home, as well as my sphere of influence.

Through my engagement with the Church at mission, I have had my faith stretched and challenged, as well as nurtured and encouraged. The challenges have shown me that strength belongs to God who is faithful despite pain and vulnerability. I have come to a greater place of certainty that with God and in community with others, anything is possible.

As I look back over my vocation in the church, I feel an affinity with the role of Assembly General Secretary. It makes sense of all that has come before – my gifts, my skills, my leadership, the relationships that I have built nationally and internationally and the wisdom I have gained. In my journey of discernment to apply for this role, I have also had my thoughts, my conversations and at times, my dreams disturbed and disrupted. It has been my experience that this usually constitutes a call. During the interview process and the conversations we have had, my sense of call has deepened and been affirmed by others.

I embrace the uniqueness of the Uniting Church as an authentic movement of God, as well as its commitment to working ecumenically in seeking unity and understanding with other churches. The Uniting Church has developed in me an understanding of my Australian identity and who I am in a country that doesn’t belong to my people of origin. It has provided me with an opportunity to meet, work with and journey with the First Peoples of this land, seeking always to be open to their wisdom.

As with many parts of society and our world, the Uniting Church also looks to an uncertain future. Statistics tell us we are changing, that our congregations and faith communities won’t look or be the same, that our services and our schools are facing strategic and sustainability challenges. Together, it is our responsibility to look to the future with the hope that is from God, and the realism that calls us to think about the new.

From the outset, the Uniting Church has defined itself as a pilgrim people, always on the way towards a promised goal. I would be privileged to offer my gifts and graces to the Assembly in the role of General Secretary, and to provide leadership and support to the Assembly as together, we look to the future and what God has in store for our Church.

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