Thursday, 21 November 2019

ASC Update November 2019

The Assembly Standing Committee (ASC) met in Sydney, 8-10 November.

National Climate Action Plan: The ASC received an update on the Assembly’s response to climate change, through the development of a National Climate Action Plan. ASC member Catherine Pepper and Associate General Secretary Rob Floyd presented a draft Plan which identifies three areas of focus – the Prophetic, the Practical and the Pastoral. The draft Plan sets a target to reduce emissions by 5% per annum across all parts of the Assembly with a view to reaching zero net emissions by 2040. Further engagement with Synods, Agencies and the UAICC will take place alongside identification of operational pathways to implement the Plan.

Assembly Strategic Plan: ASC members received a report on further consultations for the Assembly Strategic Plan 2020-2023. Assembly Consultant Rev. Lindsay Cullen shared results from an online survey and collated feedback from senior leaders across the church and its agencies. In all more than 500 people responded to the online survey. The area most respondents to the survey felt the Assembly should focus on looking forward was “Creating a Safe Church.” However very few responses were received from National Conferences and UAICC members. A draft Strategic Plan will be prepared for consideration at the March 2020 ASC meeting.

UnitingCare Australia report: National Director of UnitingCare Australia Claerwen Little and outgoing UnitingCare Australia Board Chair Bronwyn Pike presented a report on the work of UnitingCare Australia. Ms Little detailed UnitingCare Australia’s response to Royal Commissions into Aged Care and Disability, and spoke to the challenges the community services sector is facing due to an unsustainable Government aged care funding model and changing consumer demand. UnitingCare Australia has developed the vision document “Ageing to our Full Potential” to encourage positive thinking about future models of aged care centred on compassion, dignity and rights of people as they age.

Disability Access Guidelines: In line with the resolution of the 15th Assembly, the ASC, resourced by UnitingCare Australia, is developing disability access guidelines for use at all Assembly events and activities. The ASC adopted a draft set of guidelines for the purpose of consultation with a view to a final document being brought to the March 2020 ASC.

Venue and dates for 16th Assembly: The ASC approved Alexandra Park Conference Centre, Sunshine Coast Qld as the venue of the Uniting Church’s 16th Triennial Assembly meeting, to take place from Thursday 15 July – Tuesday 20 July 2021.

New ASC member: The ASC approved Rev. Helen Paine as a member of the ASC representing the Northern Synod for the remainder of the triennium. The appointment was required to fill a casual vacancy created by the resignation of Rev. Felicity Amery from the ASC to take up the role of General Secretary in the UCA Synod of South Australia. Rev. Paine works as the Safe Church Officer with the Northern Synod.

Governance Reference Committee membership: The ASC approved Nicole Mugford as the replacement for Rev. Amery on the Assembly Governance Reference Committee.