A strategic review of UCA VicTas



The Major Strategic Review (MSR or Review) concluded in June 2016.

In May 2013, the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania Standing Committee was asked by the Synod in Council to undertake a major strategic review of the Synod to form a vision and plan for the future of the Church and undertake a holistic financial sustainability review to support that vision and plan.

The MSR team began its work in early 2014. For over two years the MSR team worked across the Synod prayerfully listening, worshiping, consulting, researching, analysing and discerning.

The MSR team presented their final report to the June 2016 Synod. This report, along with other papers, reflections and resources published by the Review are available in the Resources and Documents section.

A Strategic Review Implementation Team will be established to implement resolutions resulting from the MSR.

Please contact the Implementation Project Office - (03) 9251 5479 if you have any questions about the MSR or implementation work.





The Major Strategic Review (MSR or Review) concluded in June 2016.

In May 2013, the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania Standing Committee was asked by the Synod in Council to undertake a major strategic review of the Synod to form a vision and plan for the future of the Church and undertake a holistic financial sustainability review to support that vision and plan.

The MSR team began its work in early 2014. For over two years the MSR team worked across the Synod prayerfully listening, worshiping, consulting, researching, analysing and discerning.

The MSR team presented their final report to the June 2016 Synod. This report, along with other papers, reflections and resources published by the Review are available in the Resources and Documents section.

A Strategic Review Implementation Team will be established to implement resolutions resulting from the MSR.

Please contact the Implementation Project Office - (03) 9251 5479 if you have any questions about the MSR or implementation work.



  • Discussing chaplaincy with the MSR

    over 2 years ago

    Chaplains from across the Synod gathered for the first Chaplains Connection Day hosted by the Commission for Mission in April. The Major Strategic Review (MSR) joined the group for a discussion about chaplaincy and asked for their input into the MSR from their unique perspectives.

    They were invited to consider:

    • the strengths and contributions that chaplains offer to the community and to the church,
    • the support they receive from the church and what additional support they need, and
    • future directions for the synod and for chaplaincy.

    Feedback from the round-table session and written submissions indicates that chaplains have a privileged... Continue reading

    Chaplains from across the Synod gathered for the first Chaplains Connection Day hosted by the Commission for Mission in April. The Major Strategic Review (MSR) joined the group for a discussion about chaplaincy and asked for their input into the MSR from their unique perspectives.

    They were invited to consider:

    • the strengths and contributions that chaplains offer to the community and to the church,
    • the support they receive from the church and what additional support they need, and
    • future directions for the synod and for chaplaincy.

    Feedback from the round-table session and written submissions indicates that chaplains have a privileged opportunity to ‘hear the questions that people outside the church are asking about faith issues and about God’. Within their role – in which they are often engaging with communities and people in secular or non-church settings and challenging situations – they ‘form a bridge between the church and the community because, for most community members, the church is an alien culture in an alien territory.’

    Chaplains particularly value the opportunity to be sought out by and discuss ethics and values with a diverse range of people. They are active in places ‘where the church no longer has a voice’. They may be called upon to respond theologically with ‘the big issues of the country’, and yet also listen to ‘the raw sharing’ of the human condition. Because of this diversity and challenge, the chaplains affirmed that the ‘very nature of chaplaincy is life-giving: you never know what conversations you’ll have’.

    There were calls for improved engagement, understanding and support between chaplains and synod, presbyteries, and congregations. Many chaplains would value the opportunity to explain their work to other sections of the church community. They saw value for congregations in hearing a different perspective on mission, as an expression of the church in ‘places where the church is not dominant’. They believe they can help the church ‘to understand and appreciate the gift of being a guest’ in cultures outside the church. In return, the church community provides a spiritual ‘home base’ for chaplains; as one respondent said, ‘[The] Uniting church holds me so I can go and do my ministry, engaging with people, going out there into their space, which people value, and doing it’.


  • Listening and talking with Lay Preachers

    over 2 years ago

    In late March the Major Strategic Review (MSR) team joined the Lay Preachers Association at their annual conference and AGM and listened to the big issues facing lay leadership.

    Key themes heard by the MSR team covered:

    • the changing nature of the church,
    • the opportunity to build on the strength of relationships lay preachers have with local communities,
    • the call for more accessible training, and
    • the increasing importance of lay ministry within local congregations.

    Lay Preachers are often well connected within local communities, frequently holding leadership roles beyond their church involvement. Some also move between... Continue reading

    In late March the Major Strategic Review (MSR) team joined the Lay Preachers Association at their annual conference and AGM and listened to the big issues facing lay leadership.

    Key themes heard by the MSR team covered:

    • the changing nature of the church,
    • the opportunity to build on the strength of relationships lay preachers have with local communities,
    • the call for more accessible training, and
    • the increasing importance of lay ministry within local congregations.

    Lay Preachers are often well connected within local communities, frequently holding leadership roles beyond their church involvement. Some also move between congregations and so have the opportunity to share knowledge, new ideas and good news. They are increasingly called upon to stand in for ministers, yet are limited by sacramental restrictions, easy access to ongoing theological or pastoral training, or skills in new technology to take on expanded roles.

    The value of caring for dedicated but declining congregations, particularly in small rural communities, was reiterated to the MSR, while the group also acknowledged the need for new approaches.

    Openness to change, and the desire to express flexibility in ways of doing things were evident amongst the Lay Preachers, while they also affirmed the unchanging task of sharing the gospel. As one participant said, “We must hold on to the basic tenets of the gospel as espoused in the Basis of Union in any new direction that we take.” Another respondent wrote of the gospel and Basis of Union, “They are not glued in a time-warp, but living words and documents.”

    Perhaps the task facing Lay Preachers, as expressed to MSR, is best summed up in one comment: “We have a job to do! Preach the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it relates to us today…”.

    The conference was attended by over 40 people on 21st March 2015, and thirteen written responses were received by the MSR prior to the event.

    The MSR team thanks all who participated and generously gave their time and attention to providing feedback to the MSR.

  • What we've heard when discussing vision

    over 2 years ago

    Thank you to everyone who participated in the MSR facilitated workshops late last year and during February 2015. A report on who we spoke with, what we heard and what feedback we received is available to read from the resource and document library.

    The learnings from these workshops, supported by other activities, will help inform a vision statement for the UCA Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, along with what we plan to be a supporting narrative reflecting on where we have come from, our mission, values and ongoing priorities.

    The MSR team has been active in a lot of listening,... Continue reading

    Thank you to everyone who participated in the MSR facilitated workshops late last year and during February 2015. A report on who we spoke with, what we heard and what feedback we received is available to read from the resource and document library.

    The learnings from these workshops, supported by other activities, will help inform a vision statement for the UCA Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, along with what we plan to be a supporting narrative reflecting on where we have come from, our mission, values and ongoing priorities.

    The MSR team has been active in a lot of listening, discerning and planning across a wide range of ministry, missional and operational matters. These workshops and the available report are only touching on one element of what is broad and complex task. We are continually inspired by the commitment and enthusiasm people have expressed throughout our engagements and hope that you can continue to share your passion, ideas and time with us as we continue the Review.


  • Culture survey

    over 2 years ago
    Culture survey words

    Thank you to all those who participated. The survey is now closed - look out for a report late April.


    What do you personally value?

    What is your experience of the current values and behaviours within the Church?

    What is your opinion on the values and behaviours the Church should be demonstrating?


    The Major Strategic Review (MSR) is conducting an online survey to tell us more about the Uniting Church’s existing and desired culture within the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania ­– through the lens of the Church’s values and behaviours

    We are inviting all those involved with any aspect... Continue reading

    Thank you to all those who participated. The survey is now closed - look out for a report late April.


    What do you personally value?

    What is your experience of the current values and behaviours within the Church?

    What is your opinion on the values and behaviours the Church should be demonstrating?


    The Major Strategic Review (MSR) is conducting an online survey to tell us more about the Uniting Church’s existing and desired culture within the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania ­– through the lens of the Church’s values and behaviours

    We are inviting all those involved with any aspect of the Church to participate in the survey. It will be available online for three weeks from 11 February to 6 March 2015.

    The link to the survey, along with user name and password details are:

    User name: uca

    Password: values

    Survey link: https://survey.valuescentre.com/gabby


    Instructions

    • We recommend you plan to spend 15 to 20 minutes to complete this straightforward survey, as you will need time to reflect on a comprehensive set of values and behaviours.
    • You will need to provide an answer for all questions. The option to select “N/A” is available if the question is not applicable to you.
    • The opening questions concern demographic details about you. As well as age, gender and location, we are asking what areas or expressions of the Church are you involved in, and what your role is within these areas.
    • The other three pages of the survey ask you to choose ten (10) words from a list of values and behaviours based on three different questions. Depending on the size of your device screen you may need to scroll down the page to view the whole list.
    • You may receive a link to the survey from different sources – only complete the survey once please.
    • The survey is also available to complete online in Traditional Chinese, Indonesian, Korean and Vietnamese. Select your preferred language from the survey landing page.

    More about the survey

    The culture of an organisation is determined by the values, beliefs and behaviours of both its leaders and members. These values and beliefs underpin the policies, systems, processes, structures and procedures of the organisation. Therefore understanding the culture of an organisation is important when developing strategic plans or implementing any changes.

    The culture of the UCA within the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania is diverse across our different parts (congregations, staff, agencies, volunteers etc). It would be ill-conceived for the MSR to assume to understand fully the culture of the Church because of this diversity. This survey will help us identify and articulate these different cultures. It is the first stage of preparing for change which we anticipate will result from MSR proposals.

    Any relevant insights gained will be shared with other areas of the Church to help inform strategic planning, as well as future training and program development.

    We are inviting all those connected with any aspect of the Church to complete the survey.

    Read more about the survey via the frequently asked questions (FAQs) on this site or download a PDF from the documents section.


  • Synod meeting provides direction for MSR team

    about 3 years ago
    Synod meeting 2014   msr report cover

    At this year’s Synod meeting there was a positive response to the MSR’s interim report and support for the work of the team. The meeting passed a resolution (14.7.25) affirming the emerging themes of the report. Synod also directed the team to draw out faith formation and discipleship as a theme, and continue to engage in theological reflection to inform ongoing work.

    Feedback from the work group discussions indicated that there was a strong desire for real structural and missional changes – a call to be courageous. This was linked with an anxiety that the money... Continue reading

    At this year’s Synod meeting there was a positive response to the MSR’s interim report and support for the work of the team. The meeting passed a resolution (14.7.25) affirming the emerging themes of the report. Synod also directed the team to draw out faith formation and discipleship as a theme, and continue to engage in theological reflection to inform ongoing work.

    Feedback from the work group discussions indicated that there was a strong desire for real structural and missional changes – a call to be courageous. This was linked with an anxiety that the money and time spent on the Review may be wasted if the final output is just another report with no implementation.

    During the meeting, people advocated for more consultation – some people took the opportunity to leave suggestions and details for groups the team could contact. The MSR team will continue to meet and engage with people across Victoria and Tasmania as part of the iterative consultation process within stages 1 and 2 of the Review (Understanding and Preparing for the journey).

    Some other feedback for the team included:

    • The need for a more ecumenical approach and consideration of discipleship which was reflected in the final resolution.

    • Acceptance that it would be OK to ‘let go’ of some current mission commitments.

    • There was a need to strengthen the principle of common wealth – resource mission and ministry where it is needed, not just rely on where it can be funded.

    • Suggestions that the Review should being looking outside the Church to learn from other Synods, Churches and organisations.

    • Communications from the MSR needed to be different for different audiences – balancing digital and social media as well as more traditional mediums. However personal contact remained most effective.


  • Panel discusses the Major Strategic Review at Synod

    about 3 years ago
    Msr panel at synod

    At the recent VicTas Synod meeting four members of the wider MSR team discussed their work to date, the interim report and the way forward for the Review. A video of the panel discussion is now available for you to watch. The interim report is also available to read, as well as a video of a pre-synod information sessions.

    Contact the team (msr@victas.uca.org.au) if you have problems with internet speeds and watching videos – we'll try to find an alternative way to share the videos with you.

    At the recent VicTas Synod meeting four members of the wider MSR team discussed their work to date, the interim report and the way forward for the Review. A video of the panel discussion is now available for you to watch. The interim report is also available to read, as well as a video of a pre-synod information sessions.

    Contact the team (msr@victas.uca.org.au) if you have problems with internet speeds and watching videos – we'll try to find an alternative way to share the videos with you.

  • MSR Interim report to Synod 2014 now available for download

    about 3 years ago

    The MSR interim report to Synod 2014 is now available for access and download.

    Please check out the Resource and Documents section to access!

    The MSR interim report to Synod 2014 is now available for access and download.

    Please check out the Resource and Documents section to access!