Dr. Deidre Palmer, President of the UCA visited our congregation for worship on Sunday 3rd March.  Deidre offered her greetings, expressing her delight in being with us. She explained that she and Ian had worked together coordinating worship for the Assembly meeting that was held here in Melbourne last year when she was installed as President.  She said that although she had attended meetings at our church this was the first opportunity she had to worship with us and offered her thanks Thank you for being the intergenerational multicultural and inclusive Uniting Church community that you are, shining the light of Christ in this place, so thank you for that.

Deidre went on to speak about a number of things from the Assembly

  • The National Young Adult Leaders conference held in Adelaide in January where over 150 people attended with the largest group coming from the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, coming over by bus with Bradon French. Deidre affirmed that ‘encouraging young adults in their leadership is an important emphasis of the Assembly and we know it’s also important in this Synod’
  • Deidre highlighted the Assembly resolution on responding to people escaping domestic and family violence. She affirmed the Uniting Church’s strong tradition in supporting people escaping domestic and family violence and raising up mutual communities of interdependence and care’, inviting anyone interested in working on this issue with the Assembly in an ongoing way to contact her.
  • Another resolution passed at Assembly was called ‘For the whole creation’. Deidre affirmed the work we are doing in this area as a congregation and again encouraged anyone interested to engage with the Assembly on developing further theological documentation and foundations to speak with her.  She also plugged the upcoming President’s conference in Fiji which will give us to work in solidarity with the Methodist Church in Fiji and our Pacific neighbours who are deeply impacted by climate change.
  • And finally Deidre spoke about the National Redress scheme affirming that the Uniting Church will have fulfilled all of our requirements to sign up for that scheme within the next couple of weeks. She concluded saying So if you are a survivor of abuse please receive our apology from the Uniting Church and we pray that we will continue to be the safe place that God calls us to be.  Thank you.

And a message from the Moderator

Dear friends,

I am delighted to be able to advise that the Uniting Church in Australia has been officially recognised as an active participant in the National Redress Scheme for people who experienced institutional child sexual abuse.

The Federal Minister for Families and Social Services, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, notified the UCA on Friday that the Church has met the requirements to begin participation.

As you are aware, we have been committed to becoming active members of the Scheme since it was announced last year so this is truly welcome news.

I would like to endorse the comments made by National President of the Assembly Dr Deidre Palmer after we were notified of our successful application.

“First and most importantly I want to acknowledge those who have been waiting for this decision, which follows months of work and cooperation with Uniting Church bodies across the country, the Department of Social Services and other State and Federal government agencies” Dr Palmer said.

“I would also like repeat once more the sincere apology I and past Uniting Church Presidents have made to people who were abused in our care as children. I am truly sorry that we didn’t protect and care for you in accordance with our Christian values.”

You can find out more about the Scheme and how to access it at the UCA Redress websitehttp://ucaredress.org.au/ or the federal government’s official site www.nationalredress.gov.au. You can also use the freecall line 1800 737 377.

Grace and peace, Sharon Hollis, Moderator, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania
29th March 2019