Closing Eucharist – Rev. Dr Chris Budden


We gather to celebrate a week of worship, fellowship, hard work, and challenging glimpses of the transforming presence of God among us. We are to be fed for the journey home, scattered across the Australian landscape but bound together as a fellowship of the Holy Spirit called to confess Jesus as the beginning of a new creation.

Come let us worship God!

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G – Member Information


2.00pm Sunday, 12 July to 12.00pm Saturday, 18 July 2015


The 14th Assembly will be held in Winthrop Hall within the University of Western Australia, Perth. Plenary sessions will be held in Winthrop Hall and community working groups at various locations at the University and Trinity College.


3.1 Opening Service

The opening service and installation of the President will take place in the Dickinson Centre, Scotch College, 76 Shenton Road, Swanbourne. Members of Assembly will be transported to and from their accommodation venue, Trinity Residential College, by coach. Seating will be allocated for members of the Assembly, overseas visitors and invited guests. The service for the Installation of the President is also a public event.

After the installation a light supper will be provided in the Memorial Hall, adjacent to the Dickinson Centre, as a gift from the congregations of the Western Australian Synod. Guides will be on hand to direct members and visitors.

3.2 Registration of Members

Members will register via the web as previously advised. There will be a registration process at Trinity College which is where accommodation and meals will be provided. Please note that there will be a lot of people arriving in a very tight timeframe. The Local Organising Committee will be doing their best to get people into rooms as early as quickly as possible Please do not wait until the last minute to register. Members will receive additional papers and information at this time.

3.3 Timetable

A broad timetable, indicating the proposed order of business, is included with this mailing. The Business Committee will issue a daily timetable during the Assembly.

3.4 Proposals / notices of revision

3.4.1 Proposals related to new business must be submitted to the General Secretary by 12 April for changes to the Constitution and Regulations and for other business by 12 June.

3.4.2 Notices of revision to proposals distributed with the working papers, and which could reasonably have been foreseen from a reading of the working papers, should be in the hands of the Convener of the Business Committee, Mr Geoffrey Grinton, or the General Secretary by 5.00pm (EST) on Friday 3 July 2015. This is necessary so that they may be prepared for distribution to members and placed in the Timetable by the Business Committee.

3.4.3 The only Proposals or notices of revision, which will be accepted after these times, will be those that arise specifically out of the debate and could not have been foreseen.

3.4.4 Section 5.9 of “A Manual for Meetings in the Uniting Church” specifies that proposals must be presented 24 hours before they are considered. This rule must be kept in mind alongside the above closure times and members must check the timetable carefully, particularly for those reports and recommendations to be considered early in the week.

3.5 Nominations and Elections

3.5.1 All positions – Standing Committee, Chairpersons of Agency Reference Committees, President – elect. Nominations for President – elect close with the Assembly Secretariat (PO Box A2266 Sydney South NSW, 1235; email: on April 16 2015. All other nominations must be placed in the Nomination Box at the meeting venue by 6.00pm on Tuesday 14 July 2015.

3.5.2 Ballots will be held for Chairpersons of Agency Reference Committees (if required), President – elect and Standing Committee.

3.5.3 Re the ballot for the President – elect

The 1st ballot for President – elect is to reduce the list of candidates to two candidates. It will be held at 3.15pm on Wednesday 15 July 2015 (Session 15) The second ballot, if required, will be held at 2.00 pm on Thursday 16 July 2015 (Session 19).

3.5.4 The ballot papers for Standing Committee and Chairpersons (if required) will be distributed at 12.00pm Thursday 16 July (Session 18) and the ballot will close at 12.30pm Friday 17 July (Session 23).

3.5.5 Results of Ballots will be declared as soon as possible after the close of the ballot.

3.6 Other Functions

There are some other activities associated with the meeting of the Assembly. Some of these events, due to space considerations are by invitation. Advice will be provided about related events during the course of the meeting.


4.1 Location points / processes

Diagrams of locations points at the University and Trinity College will be available when you register at Assembly.

(1) Morning and Afternoon tea

Morning and afternoon tea will be served each day except the first afternoon (Sunday) and last afternoon (Saturday).

(2) Business Committee Table (right, front of stage)

The Convenor of the Business Committee will be found here. Messages for display on the projection screen are to be given to the official table (at the front stage in the Plenary Hall) for approval prior to projection.

(3) Holy Communion

A daily service of Holy Communion will be conducted at 8.00am at Trinity College (venue to be advised). You are encouraged to make use of these optional services from Tuesday to Friday.

(4) Notice Boards

Notice boards display any special notices approved by the Convenor of the Business Committee. If you have any information you would like placed on the notice boards provide it to Mr Geoffrey Grinton or a person at the official table for review and decision. Results of all ballots for positions for which an election was necessary will be displayed on these boards.

Unauthorised material will be removed from the notice boards.

(5) Reception and information desk

A reception desk is located in the foyer outside the Plenary Hall. The staff member on duty will assist members and visitors with general enquiries, and retain any items of lost property.

(6) Toilet facilities

Toilet facilities are available throughout the venues and have disabled access.

4.2 Meals

Breakfast will be provided in the dining hall of Trinity College. Evening meals will be provided each night at the same venue except for Wednesday night which is a free evening. If you require an evening meal that evening then please advise the 14th Assembly Administrator Ms Clare Ligtermoet at

Lunches will be the responsibility of members. There are many food outlets in the area surrounding the meeting venue at reasonable prices and offering quick service – so you can be back in time for the next session!

4.3 Name Tags

Your official name tag is printed and will be issued to you at the time of your registration at Trinity College. You are asked to wear your name tag at all times in the plastic holder that will be provided. If you do not have your name tag you may not be admitted into the meeting. Also the stewards are instructed to give voting papers only to those wearing official name tags. Meals will only be provided to people wearing appropriate name tags.

4.4 Visitors

Day and Session visitors are welcome. All visitors must register. A small fee to cover costs for morning and afternoon tea, and any papers that may be provided, will apply ($20 / day, $10 concession and half day)

4.5 Child Care – 0 to 6 Years

Child care for small children will only be provided for those members who have made prior arrangements, through the web based registration process with the 14th Assembly Office. Casual child care for visitors cannot be provided.

4.6 Latecomers

The doors providing entry to the hall will be closed, and no entry permitted, during morning Bible studies and worship sessions.

4.7 Security

It is the responsibility of all members to secure their personal possessions. Lock your room at all times. It is recommended that people walk together after dark especially returning to their accommodation.

4.8 Chaplains

4.8.1 Chaplains to the Assembly

The Assembly has chaplains who are available to members who may wish to access pastoral care or conversation during the course of the meeting. Contact details will be provided at the Assembly.

4.8.2 Chaplains to the President

The President has personal chaplains who assist him is a variety of ways. If you wish to make contact with the President about some aspect of the meeting or a matter of concern please do so through one of his chaplains.

4.8.3 Complaints procedures

There will be a contact person for any complaint under the procedures for complaints
as outlined in the papers. Contact details will be provided at the Assembly.

4.9 Distribution of current day’s agenda, proposals and papers.

A detailed daily timetable will be distributed each day, along with any proposals and official papers. These documents will be available from the official table near the entrance to Winthrop Hall. Note: Only documents approved by the General Secretary or the Business Committee can be distributed within any part of the Plenary Hall.

4.10 Mobile Phones

Members are requested to ensure that their mobile telephones are switched off or set to silent during business sessions.

4.11 Access for persons with reduced mobility or other needs

The facilities are accessible to persons with reduced mobility. Arrangements will be in place to transport people with restricted mobility from Trinity College to Winthrop Hall (a ten minute walk) and return.


5.1 Members are asked to remember that the Assembly has determining responsibility in matters of worship, doctrine, government and discipline (Basis of Union, paragraph 15). Hence, we are concerned with matters of major importance for the mission of God in the world, and are dealing with principle and policy rather than committee detail.

5.2 Manual for Meetings

The Regulations require the Assembly to use the Manual for Meetings for its business procedures. Members should familiarise themselves with the Manual for Meetings. The shape of the meeting seeks to follow the rhythm of the Manual for Meetings.

5.3 Major Issues

Selected major issues will be presented to the Assembly in plenary session and then sent to community working groups for discussion, as outlined in the Manual for Meetings.

5.4 Addressing the Assembly

The correct form of address when addressing the President is simply “President” (not Mr President). All speakers should provide their name and appointing body eg “I am “name”, Presbytery of …, Synod of …. If a person is ex officio or appointed by an Assembly Agency the speaker should indicate their appointing body. Persons wishing to speak should not wave blue cards towards the front table. The appropriate method for indicating that you wish to speak is to line up at a microphone and await the call of the President. All speakers must await the call of the President before speaking. All speakers must use the microphones. No matter how strong you think your voice is people will not hear you.

5.5 Inclusive Language

Members of Assembly are requested to use inclusive language.

5.6 Social Media, texting, etc

The Assembly understands the significance of social media in today’s environment. However members are requested to remember that we gather as women and men whom Christ the head of the church has called together as the Assembly to discern the will of Christ for his Uniting Church. This requires of us that we listen carefully to one another and not to become distracted or overly informed by the opinions of people who are not so called and resourced through prayer, worship and the community that is built over the course of the Assembly meeting.

Members of the Assembly are also reminded that the respect and commitment to being a safe place that is expected of members in their face to face encounters with one another are also expected in comments made through social media.

5.7 Quorum

A quorum consists of at least half the number of members of the Assembly within which number at least half the number of Synods shall be represented (Regulation 3.8.5 (g)).

5.8 Bar of the House

Plenary sessions will be held in table groups. Members and persons associated with the Assembly are invited to sit at these tables. The location for visitors will be well marked and stewards can point people in the right direction.

5.9 General

The Assembly meeting is meant to be a safe place where Christian community is fostered and encouraged. However if at any time you feel stressed or subject to inappropriate behaviour please contact one of the Assembly chaplains or the persons nominated to handle complaints. While the Community Working Groups will have a primary focus on items of business one of their key functions is to help people have a group of people that they can know a bit better within the larger gathering, and hopefully provide you with a stronger sense of community than a gathering of 270+ people can always offer.


6.1 Guidelines

6.1.1 In order that the Assembly may most effectively use its time and resources, it is important that these guidelines are closely followed.

6.1.2 If any member is unsure about how to proceed in bringing business before the meeting then you are encouraged to speak with an experienced member of the Assembly, or alternatively you may approach the Convenor of the Business Committee or the General Secretary. However it is most important that persons who wish to submit matters for consideration should ensure that contact is made as early as possible.

6.2 Terminology

6.2.1 Clause 5.10 of the Manual for Meetings requires that any recommendation shall be submitted in writing, over the signature of at least two members, to the Business Committee.

6.2.2 The term Recommendation is used to refer to a formal proposal brought to the Assembly for consideration and decision.

6.2.3 If the recommendation is to be considered using the procedures for Making Decisions by Consensus (Chapter 6 of the Manual), it has the status of a proposal for discussion, as described in Clause 6.1.

6.2.4 If, however, the recommendation is to be considered using the procedures for Making Decisions by Formal Majority (Chapter 7 of the Manual), the recommendation provides the words for the formal motion, as described in Clause 7.1.

6.2.5 A Notice of Revision may be submitted to stand against any Recommendation. Any members of the Assembly may submit a Notice of Revision. Just as a Recommendation forms the basis of a proposal or motion, as appropriate, so a Notice of Revision can become the basis for either an alternative proposal (consensus procedures) or an amendment (formal majority procedures).

6.2.6 Once the Assembly has made a decision, regardless of the process used to arrive at that decision, the recommendation, in either its original or revised form becomes a Resolution of the Assembly. The minutes will record on that “The Assembly resolved…”

6.3 The Nature of a Recommendation

6.3.1 One of the roles of the Assembly is to establish policy, and to initiate action. Hence recommendations brought to the Assembly should be designed with some specific intention for an outcome that results in change.

6.3.2 The Assembly is, of course, able to change policy, or to set new directions but it is not usually appropriate for it to affirm, re-affirm, or note the actions of a previous Assembly. It is a basic assumption that once established, policies or decisions continue unless changed.

6.3.3 Further, it is not necessary or appropriate for the Assembly to consider recommendations which request or authorise a body to do work for which it already has responsibility, and which it is willing to undertake.

6.4 The Form of a Recommendation

6.4.1 All recommendations must commence with the words: That the Assembly

6.4.2 The next phrase will normally set out the action to be taken as a result of carrying the recommendation. In the minutes of the Assembly, this initial wording will be changed to read: The Assembly resolved:

6.4.3 A brief subject line is required, to allow a short-form reference to the recommendation. This will be printed in both the working papers and the minutes on the line above the text of the recommendation, as a form of sub-heading.

6.4.4 Usually, the text of the recommendation will commence by making reference to the body to whom it is directed.

6.4.5 Typical phrases which might commence the body of a recommendation are:

That… be requested…
That …be advised that…
To adopt as its policy the statement…
That… be appointed…
To record its appreciation for…
To approve…

6.4.6 A recommendation may be divided into sub-clauses where this makes the sense clearer, or where it will help the discussion of the matter. For example, it can be helpful to separate the establishment of a principle or policy from clauses related to implementation or reporting.

6.4.7 A clear rationale that is clearly linked to the recommendation should follow the recommendation. The purpose of the rationale is to assist members of the Assembly to understand what it is that it is hoped to achieve and why this approach is helpful. A good rationale assists members of the Assembly to commence their reflection on the issue and to think about the questions or points that they may want to raise before the discussion commences. It is not appropriate for a rationale to be incorporated into a recommendation.

6.4.8 It is normal practice of the Assembly to move, discuss and decide upon the whole of a recommendation at once. In some circumstances the President may agree to a request that separate decisions be taken on each clause.

6.5 The Scope of a Recommendation

6.5.1 A recommendation should be short, precise and explicit. It should specify as many of the following points as are appropriate:

i. What is to be done – the task or action to be carried out;
ii. Who is to do it – the responsible person or body;
iii. Subsequent action or reporting – such as a report back to the Assembly or to some other body;
iv. The time frame – when the action is to be taken or completed;
v. Any required personnel – if a committee is required, who is to set up the committee, and the way in which appointments are to be made.

6.6 Requirements for a Recommendation

6.6.1 A recommendation must be complete in itself, without reference to other material or documents. Hence, for example, it is not appropriate to move that someone be asked to “carry out the review described in the report”. It must be possible to read the text of a minute, or send that text to someone not present during the discussion, and to expect them to understand what was resolved and what is now to be done.

6.6.2 There will be cases (for example, the adoption of a budget) where it is appropriate to refer to other material when it is clearly understood that such material will be included in the minutes.

6.6.3 It is helpful to ask someone who is not closely associated with the matter concerned in the recommendation to read a draft to check that is understood in the way intended. If your draft recommendation does not pass this test please keep working on it!

6.6.4 It may be appropriate in some cases to include a brief explanatory phrase or clause at the start of a recommendation in order to establish a context. These words must be brief and relevant, so that the body of the recommendation might take a form such as:

In the light of the decision of … that… be … requested…
That, noting the effects of…etc.

6.6.5 A recommendation from one of Assembly’s reporting bodies must be signed by an authorised officer of the body, and must advise the names of one or two people who will present the recommendation to the Assembly meeting. A contact name must also be provided for those seeking further information; this may be one of the above people, or someone else, as appropriate. It must be clearly indicated that the recommendation is presented in the name of the reporting body. A mobile phone contact is required.

6.6.6 A recommendation that comes from members of the Assembly must be signed by two members of the Assembly. It is expected that the first named person (the proposer) will present the recommendation to the meeting, and that the second-named person (the support) will be available to provide additional information if required. Contact information must be provided to enable any contact that may be necessary by the Business Committee. A mobile phone contact is required.

6.7 Notice of Revision

6.7.1 When it is felt that the form of a recommendation could be improved, or that a change is required to a recommendation already submitted, a Notice of Revision may be submitted.

6.7.2 A notice of revision should vary the terms of the recommendation in some manner, but cannot vary it in such a way that its effect would be reversed or negated. The requirements are exactly the same as those for a recommendation; that is, two members of Assembly must be identified and present the revision to the meeting.

6.7.3 The form of notice of revision is: That Proposal No. # be amended by…
The following text should provide explicit details of words to be deleted and \ or words to be added.

6.7.4 A notice of revision generally should not provide the full text of an alternative from of words. This can lead to confusion, as it can be difficult in such a case to determine exactly what changes are being proposed by the revision. However, there are cases where the nature of the change is sufficiently complex that it will be more helpful to members to reprint the full recommendation with the new words highlighted. The Business Committee will decide which is more appropriate.


7.1 Questions on the reports of Assembly agencies will be raised through the processes that will be provided for interaction with Agencies about their area of work. There will be a process that will allow appropriate questions to be brought from the interaction process to a plenary session where representatives of the Agencies will respond.


8.1 Members of Standing Committee

Nomination forms for members of Standing Committee are provided in these papers. Nominations are to be placed in the Nomination Box at the meeting venue and must be signed by both the nominator and the nominee. See section 3.5.1 for closing times.

Please note the important information provided with the nomination forms on expectations of members of the Standing Committee as you consider accepting nomination for appointment.

8.2 Nomination Forms

Nomination forms are to include a brief nomination profile, to be completed by the nominator. NOTE: The failure to supply a profile will disadvantage the nominee. Only relevant information should be provided. Marital status and number of children is not relevant information for any of the appointments which the Assembly will be making. Note: all nominees must indicate their willingness to accept nomination before their name is submitted.


The following procedures will apply for elections for Chairpersons of Agency Reference Committees, the President- elect and members of Standing Committee.

9.1 General

9.1.1 If the number of persons nominated for election does not exceed the number of persons to be elected:

(a) Voting shall be by show of hands;

(b) A single vote shall be taken in respect of all nominees unless the Assembly resolves that a separate vote shall be taken in respect of each nominee;

(c) Nominees who receive an absolute majority of votes shall be declared elected.

9.1.2 If the number of persons nominated exceeds the number of persons to be elected voting shall be by written ballot.

9.2 Ballot for President – elect

a) if more than two nominations are received for President – elect, a first-round preferential ballot be used to identify the two candidates with the highest number of preferences;

(b) if a candidate in the preferential ballot receives more than 50% of the first preferences of those participating in the ballot, that candidate will be declared elected;

(c) if there are only two nominations, or following a prior preferential ballot, in which no candidate received more than 50% of first preferences, the names of the two candidates who, after the distribution of preferences, received the most votes shall be submitted and members shall indicate their preference for one candidate; and

(d) to be declared elected, a candidate must receive the support of more than 50% of those participating in the ballot.

9.3 Standing Committee Election – procedures

In electing the members of Standing Committee the Returning Officer will take into account
Regulation, and Assembly Minute 00.05. In the exercise of their responsibilities the members of the Assembly are to give attention to the role of the Standing Committee as described in regulation, and the skills, gifts and graces of the persons making
themselves available for election.

ASSEMBLY STANDING COMMITTEE (See Para 47, Constitution) Membership

(a) The Assembly Standing Committee shall consist of
(i) the President, President-elect, ex-President and General Secretary of the Assembly;
(ii) the Chairperson and the National Administrator of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress; (There is a proposal from the UAICC to amend this part of the regulation prior to the appointment of the Standing Committee for this triennium to reflect that there is no longer a position of National Administrator.)
(iii) 18 members of the Assembly elected by the Assembly; and
(iv) no more than four persons co-opted by the Standing Committee.

(b) The elected membership shall include at least one person from each Synod.

(c) The number of lay members of the Standing Committee shall be not fewer than the number of members who are Ministers.

(d) In the election of members, paragraphs (b) and (c) shall be applied in that sequence in determining the persons elected.

(e) The elected membership shall include no more than six persons from any Synod.

(f) The Standing Committee may act notwithstanding any vacancy in its membership. Any vacancy may be filled by the Standing Committee appointing a member of the same status, whether Minister or lay person, as the person who caused the vacancy. If the person whose place has become vacant was the only elected member of the Standing Committee from a Synod, the new member shall be from the same Synod.

(g) Only members of the Assembly are eligible for membership of the Standing Committee.


(l) The Standing Committee shall:
(i) transact such business as may be referred to it by the Assembly and such other business as may be required or be desirable to be done on behalf of the Assembly between meetings of the Assembly, except such as may be precluded by the Assembly;
(ii) in order to assist the Assembly in its discernment, at least ten months prior to an Assembly meeting, advise the Church on the challenges and issues which may be faced by the President and the Assembly in the seven subsequent years;
(iii) offer guidance to the President on priorities to be pursued, and the way in which the responsibilities named in Regulation may be exercised, taking into account the particular gifts and graces of the President;
(iv) report its decisions to Synods, Presbyteries and the next meeting of the Assembly.

Assembly minutes 00.05 and 09.03.05 between them provide for the following considerations to be taken into account when the ballot for membership of the Standing Committee is being counted.

The Assembly resolved to determine that the elected membership of the Standing Committee shall include:
• at least two persons 25 years of age or under;
• no fewer that eight women and no fewer that eight men;
• at least two persons recognised by Multicultural and Cross Cultural Ministry as being among the culturally and linguistically diverse communities of the church, at least one of whom shall be a lay person;

In casting their vote members of the Assembly are not required to give attention to these criteria. You should vote on the basis of your view as to who are the most suitable people to serve on the Assembly Standing Committee. The Returning Officer will take these requirements into account if it proves to be necessary in the counting and declaration of the ballot.


10.1 Working papers will have been distributed to all members of Assembly prior to the meeting. A limited number of additional copies are available from the Assembly Secretariat for purchase at cost plus postage – contact (02) 8267 4202 or Reports and proposals are also available on the web at

10.2 General

10.2.1 Pages are numbered within the following major sections

A Information
B Reports
C Proposals
D Elections and Nominations
E Members of the Assembly
F Ministerial Matters
G Member Information
H Miscellaneous
I Manual for Meetings
J Daily Notices

Within each major section each body has a separate sub-section and its pages are then numbered consecutively – for example report “Retiring President” is B2 and the pages of its report are numbered B2 – 1, B2 – 2 …..

10.2.2 For supplementary reports, the pages continue the sequential numbering of the original report

10.3 The Convenor of the Business Committee, Geoffrey Grinton, will be responsible for authorising material to be circulated during Assembly and any material should be handed to him or to Ms Jenny Bertalan in the first instance. Approved material must be delivered at least one session before it is to be circulated.

10.4 Any member who has any query should seek an early opportunity for discussion with the Convenor of the Business Committee.


Very limited car parking will be available. Any costs are to borne by the member of the Assembly. Members need to make arrangement for parking with the 14th Assembly Administrator, Ms Clare Ligtermoet before arrival in Perth. Clare can be contacted at


Claim forms for reimbursement of travel expenses have been distributed with the registration information. The process for reimbursement is described in that letter. Information can also be received from Clare Ligtermoet at Direct debit payment for air travel expenses will be available as soon as possible after receipt of the claim form. Please sign the Reimbursement Claim Form. Claims for road travel will not be processed before the Assembly meeting but claims do have to be submitted to Clare Ligtermoet by Wednesday 15 July – no late claims will be processed.

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H1 – Pastoral Procedures for Responding to Allegations of Sexual Misconduct at Special Events[1] Run by The Uniting Church in Australia


1.1 Context

The Uniting Church in Australia has in place comprehensive policies, procedures and guidelines for dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct within the life and mission of the Church. These documents include:

• Regulations on Church Discipline for dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct made against a Minister of the Word, Deacon, Deaconess, Community Minister, Lay Pastor, Youth Worker, Synod Secretary, Moderator, Assembly General Secretary, President, or Presbytery Minister. (Regulations 5.6.1 – 5.6.18)

• Policies for dealing with complaints of sexual misconduct made against a Lay Staff Person or Voluntary Worker employed by the Uniting Church in Australia.

• A policy for dealing with a complaint of sexual misconduct made against a member, adherent, volunteer of the Uniting Church in Australia and for providing for a safe faith community.

These procedures are required to be followed whenever an allegation of sexual misconduct takes place. There is a recognition that some special events take place outside the circumstances described in these policies. As such it is important that when a special event takes place that the organisers are clear about the manner in which an allegation may be dealt with.

1.2 Covenanting Community

Central to the response of dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct is our understanding that the Christian community is a covenant community, that is, it is a community that develops its life around worship, prayer, witness, study, pastoral care, deep friendships and mutual accountability. (1.1 Code of Ethics 2010). A covenant community is one that acknowledges that a Christian community should be a place that is safe: to learn about Jesus Christ; to ask questions; to be free from abuse. A covenant community is also about protecting and upholding the ethos of the event itself – that it is a safe place for participants to explore, create, learn and/or make decisions. This document encourages each “special event” to develop with its participants a covenant community, where participants covenant, as best as they are able, to create a safe place for all those participating in the event.

1.3 What we believe about Safe Places

(Policies for the Prevention of Sexual Misconduct, 1997)

“The Uniting Church in Australia believes that all people are made in the image of God, and as such we accept every individual regardless of race, age, creed or gender. As a Christian community we believe that God reaches out to us in love and acceptance, and that our relationships with each other shall express love and commitment and not be abused. As a community of faith we are committed to providing a place in society where human beings can explore what it means to be made in the image of God. As an expression of this commitment, the Uniting Church in Australia recognises its responsibility to provide worshipping and pastoral communities that are free from abuse. We seek to provide a safe environment for all people to explore and express their faith in Jesus Christ.”

1.4 Creating a Covenant Community

Event organisers are strongly encouraged to include as part of their opening act of worship a liturgy that signifies the commitment of this temporary community to being a safe covenant community. This may occur in the context of small groupings, or in plenary. A statement should be made about the expectation that all events should be safe places that are free from abuse and harassment; and where participants are free to explore their part in creation. Event organisers may also include clear statements about the ethos of the event when preparing opening statements about safety for participants and leaders.


2.1 Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct includes:
(a) sexual harassment: any unwelcome sexual advance, or unwelcome request for sexual favours to a person, or engagement in other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature in relation to that person, in circumstances in which a reasonable person, having regard for all the circumstances, would have anticipated the person complaining would be offended, humiliated or intimidated;

(b) sexual assault: any unwelcome sexual behaviour that may occur along a continuum from verbal insult to sexual intercourse, that makes a person feel threatened or afraid.

(c) sexual conduct prohibited by criminal law; or

(d) sexualization of a pastoral relationship or relationship of responsibility: any interaction, sexual or otherwise, in which a person engages in sexualised behaviour with or towards a person with whom he or she is in a relationship of responsibility.

2.2 Relationship of Responsibility (Pastoral Relationship)

A relationship of one person with another individual in any circumstance where the person is in a designated position of leadership or responsibility with associated or perceived power in relation to that person. Where one person has actual or perceived power over the other person because or their role, responsibility, designation, or authority. eg. Leader, chaplain, organiser etc.

2.3 Voluntary Worker or Volunteer

A person who is not an employee or member of the Uniting Church who is assisting in the leadership or facilitation of an event. [Note that an allegation against a volunteer will normally be dealt with in accordance with the document “Policy for dealing with a complaint of sexual misconduct made against a member, adherent, volunteer of the Uniting Church in Australia”. See]

2.4 Pastoral Coordinator

The Pastoral Coordinator is the person identified at a special event of the Uniting Church or its agencies to provide support and advice to participants and leaders of such an event who bring allegations of sexual misconduct that occur either during or prior to the event.


3.1 The management or coordinating group of a special event shall appoint a person as Pastoral Coordinator for the duration of the event who will monitor the use of these procedures, and the response to any allegation of sexual misconduct. This person may be required to act as, or appoint, a conciliator if required.

3.2 Persons should be identified within the leadership team of any event who have completed the UCA training for dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct, or who have other experience in handling allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse.

3.3 All Chaplains and Leaders at an event will be advised of these procedures and provided with copies or policies prior to the commencement of the event.

3.4 All participants or delegates at an event will be notified at the commencement of the event of the procedures that are in place for dealing with allegations of sexual misconduct, and of the name of the person who has been appointed as the Pastoral Coordinator.


4.1 When a participant at an event (the complainant) reports an incident of sexual misconduct to a leader, the complainant will be referred to one of those leaders identified with expertise at the event (see 3.2), or the Pastoral Coordinator.

4.2 The complainant should be provided with possible options to assist in creating a safe environment for the complainant for the remainder of the event (eg. being reallocated in another group, access to support people, change in accommodation, etc.).

4.3 If the complainant consents a record of the complaint should be kept by the organisers of the event.

4.4 Allegations of sexual misconduct involving a child under the age of consent (*see endnote), should be reported to the Child Care and Protection Authority in that State or Territory.

4.5 If the Pastoral Coordinator considers the alleged incident may be a breach of criminal law, the complainant will be encouraged to report the matter to the local police. The Pastoral Coordinator will be available to assist with initial contact if necessary. Support and care shall be offered to the complainant throughout this process.

4.6 The complainant should be given opportunity to make a formal complaint where:

(a) the complaint is against a Minister of the Uniting Church: the complainant should be assisted to have the matter referred to the Synod Secretary or Chairperson of the Synod Sexual Misconduct Committee ( in the relevant Synod); or

(b) the complaint is against a Staff Person or Voluntary Worker of the Uniting Church: the complainant should be assisted to have the matter referred to the Employing Body, the Synod Secretary or Chairperson of the Synod Sexual Misconduct Complaints Committee; or

(c) the complaint is against a member or adherent of the Uniting Church: the complainant should be assisted to have the matter referred to the Presbytery from which the person against whom the allegation is made comes.

4.7 If the complainant does not want to deal with the complaint outside of the event context, and at the complainant’s request, the Pastoral Coordinator may arrange for conciliation or conversation between the complainant and the person against whom the allegation has been made. Naming of the allegation, and conciliation would be the major focus of such a conversation. Discernment needs to be exercised about dealing with a complaint in this way.

4.8 Where a complaint is made against a person not covered in the above categories (eg. a Minister from another denomination participating in the event), the Pastoral Coordinator in consultation with the Complainant and the Secretary of the Synod in which the event takes place will identify an appropriate method for dealing with the allegation.

4.9 The Pastoral Coordinator will assist the complainant to identify support networks that might be accessed on their return home.

4.10 The Pastoral Coordinator, along with other leaders, will ensure that other pastoral issues relating to the allegation (eg. impact on other participants) are addressed.


5.1 When a complainant reports an incident of sexual misconduct which occurred prior to the event, the complainant will be referred to one of those leaders identified with expertise in these issues at the event, or the Pastoral Coordinator.

5.2 The complainant should be provided with information on appropriate counselling services within their state of territory. The complainant should also be encouraged to report the incident to the appropriate authorities.

5.3 I In the event that the complaint involves an allegation against one of the persons listed in Section 4.6, the complainant may be assisted to make a complaint through the procedures listed in this section. The Pastoral Coordinator will assist the complainant to identify support networks to be in place on their return home.


6.1 Each State and Territory in Australia has varying legislation relating to the mandatory notification of child abuse in that jurisdiction. Event organisers should ensure that leaders at any event are aware of reporting requirements within the jurisdiction of that event.

6.2 The Pastoral Coordinator will take the necessary steps to report an allegation to the appropriate authorities in the state or territory where the abuse occurred.

6.3 Allegations of sexual misconduct involving a child under the age of consent (*see endnote), should be reported to the Child Care and Protection Authority in that State or Territory.


The Pastoral Coordinator will liaise with other persons at the event with skills in this area, the management / organising committee, and any overseeing body.

The Pastoral Coordinator will:

• ensure that this policy is available to all relevant persons at the event;
• ensure that all participants and leaders are aware of the policies for dealing with allegation of sexual misconduct;
• ensure, with the management committee, that a covenant of safety occurs at the commencement of the event;
• ensure that all specialist leaders in the area of sexual misconduct are aware of their role;
• ensure, where possible, that training for leaders is available prior to the event on these issues;
• ensure that pastoral care is available to other persons affected by the allegation or alleged misconduct;
• act as the “contact person” (as defined in Regulations and Policies) for allegations made under Section 4.6;
• provide a written evaluation at the conclusion of the event on issues of safety.

The Pastoral Coordinator is responsible for:

• arranging conciliation if necessary during the event;
• in the event of a criminal act contacting the police;
• in the event of mandatory reporting, contacting the Child Protection Authorities;
• liaising with Synod Secretary, Chairperson of the Synod Sexual Misconduct Complaints Committee, or Presbytery Chairperson as appropriate;
• assisting leaders to deal with allegations that occur within the event;
• making any statements deemed necessary to participants or groups of participants during the event in relation to an allegation;
• providing support and information as required, but not including providing legal advice.

*Ages of Consent

The following are the ages of consent for each Australian State and Territory as at 1 June 1998.

Jurisdiction Age of Consent
New South Wales 16 years
Victoria 16 years
Queensland 16 years and 18 years dependent on the nature of the offence
South Australia 17 years and 18 years for a person in position of ‘care and authority’
Tasmania 17 years
Western Australia  16 years
Northern Territory 16 years
Australian Capital Territory 16 years

Approved by the Assembly Standing Committee, November 1999 (edited to accommodate changes to Regulation numbers, etc)


[1] Special Events of the Uniting Church in Australia include any event organised by the Uniting Church which is not covered by other policies of the Uniting Church in this area. Special Events generally occur in the context of a temporary community. Such events include, but are not limited to, NCYC, meetings of the Assembly or Synods, Emmaus Walks, Camping Programs, National Conferences, etc. It does not include events organised within the normal life of a Congregation at which most, participants are members or adherents of the Uniting Church.

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