The Uniting Church is organised by groups of women and men, lay and ordained, consulting together, usually making decisions by consensus, in each area of the church’s life.
The church is committed to being a series of interrelated councils – local churches, presbytery, synod and the national assembly. Each council has its distinct tasks, and each council recognises the limits of its responsibilities in relation to other councils. Though our family can be vastly different, each aims to embrace all people and unite them with each other and with God.
The word ‘synod’ also describes the annual meeting of representatives of Uniting Church Western Australia (UCWA). The WA Synod is the state council of UCWA and operates as the legal and administrative body of the church. The elected head of each synod is the Moderator and the General Secretary is appointed as the Executive Officer.
The governance of the whole church happens through Presbytery and Synod committees and commissions, which report to the Presbytery and Synod meetings and in between to the Standing Committees of each body. Ministers and representatives of caring agencies, schools and the Presbytery of WA meet annually (usually in September) to discuss issues affecting UCWA.
Throughout the year, the work of the Synod continues through its committees, commissions, agencies, schools and paid staff of the Uniting Church Centre.
The Uniting Church in Australia’s presbyteries have responsibility for oversight of the church’s life and work in their region, especially for the settlement of ministers; establishment, amalgamation and disbanding of congregations; assisting in the development of congregation mission strategies, and support of congregational life.
A presbytery is a council to which ministers of the word and deacons are responsible. It has the duty of caring for them and ensuring their work is carried out faithfully. Presbytery meetings include ordained ministers, lay pastors and elected laypersons from every congregation.
Uniting Church congregations are caring communities to which all people can belong. In WA, we have more than 100 congregations. Each week our congregations and faith communities worship with families, singles, children, youth and the elderly; in small or large gatherings; in rural or urban settings; culturally specific or diverse. Worship styles vary from the traditional to the contemporary, with small groups sharing faith in homes, schools or centres of care.
The Assembly is the national council of the Church, headed by the President of the Uniting Church, with the General Secretary as Chief Executive Officer.