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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.



QUESTIONS CLOSED: MSR concluded in June 2016. Forward all questions to Synod Secretariat

  • How do people have input into these reports? I don't think the UCA looks at the problems of people accessing these meetings and not being held in enough places to allow a cross section to attend. What do we do about the fundamental issues of the church and what is only assisting with reducing nos in churches. These are volunteer burnout, lack of resources and assistance to rural congregations, bullying/harassment. With bullying it is an important issue and one that the UCA must deal with as in the government obligations under the non-profit sector. Why leave it till the issues because an huge one, presbyteries and paid staff do not seem to know UCA rules on this issue and have no idea of how to deal with the issue other than to make it worse. Blaming the victim and silently endorsing the bully to allow it to become worse.

    dustydog asked over 1 year ago

    Thank you for raising these issues with us. We are sorry about this late response to your query.

    We have heard similar stories of the increasing stress and strain being felt by people across the Church as less people are getting involved but responsibilities increase.  That is one of the issues which the MSR has tried to address – the final report of the Review will be presented to the Synod meeting in June.

    By reports and meetings in your question, we assume you mean the MSR information sessions held before Easter. Throughout the Review we’ve tried hard to reach as many people as possible in our engagements, however the MSR Team are volunteers or involved in the MSR on top of existing placement commitments – balancing the work of the Review with existing ministry placements and commitments in other areas of the Church. With the most recent information sessions there were ten events held within five weeks across both states on weekdays, evenings and Saturdays. Even with this effort we appreciate that these times could not be convenient for everyone. Therefore we have posted information on the MSR Listening Post website, emailed newsletters and used other means of communications wherever possible.

    We have welcomed questions via the Listening Post website or emailed directly to the MSR team, as you have taken advantage of, as part of a variety of ways people could contribute to the Review.


  • Comments made to me recently from congregational leaders: 1. "I have just this week put in my resignation from being chairperson of church council due to the stress I am suffering (in the church). I’m not available for reappointment. I had a wake-up call recently when I felt unwell and had a nervous tremor because of the feeling I’ve got to face yet another day of stress." 2. "Keeping this church going is going to put me in an early grave.' Perhaps one of the key issues disabling already exhausted leaders in congregations is the length of time taken to fill placements which is generally from 6 months but may take years. Significant if not fatal losses can occur in that time to already depleted congregations and so incrementally weakening the church across the Synod. Is it possible that with some systems analysis, some creative thinking, and some advice from the Synod and other councils, this is change that could be developed and implemented quickly? So is this an initiative that is planned for delivery in the short term?

    rose broadstock asked almost 2 years ago

    Thank you for sharing these examples with us. We have heard similar stories of the increasing stress and strain being felt by both ordained and lay leaders across the Church. As you are describing, people have contributed their gifts and time to the Church over many years, sometimes at personal cost.

    It is our experience that there a many interrelated issues causing this strain. As you have highlighted, issues with the current placement model is one major element.

    We hope to deliver a strategy that lightens burdens and reduces barriers so people are freer to engage in life-giving worship, witness and service within the Church. Realistically, the changes the MSR is recommending may only show results in the mid to longer term. We recognise the sense of urgency in your question and will share your call for a more immediate solution with colleagues within Synod.


  • I believe discussions over time with the Anglican Church have taken place about possible synergies,links and/ or mergers in the future. Does the MSR preclude mergers with other churches? Has this issue been considered as part of the environmental scan and governance discussions and has it been put to or discussed with congregations?

    Stephen O'Kane asked almost 2 years ago

    Ecumenism is inherent in the DNA of the Uniting Church. Community and partnership have featured heavily in our discussions and planning. Within the Vision and Mission Principles, principle 7 ‘pursue God’s Mission in partnership’ encourages the Uniting Church in the name of the God of reconciliation to seek to be reconciled with the rest of Christ’s Church and will work side by side in mission.

    As well as the MSR using the Vision and Mission Principles to guide our strategic planning, we have shared them with the wider Church and invited people to engage with, reflect on and apply them in their local context. In doing so, congregations could look to build on the synergies and strengthen links with other groups in their communities.

    Any consideration of formal mergers at the national level with other Christian denominations are matters the Assembly would need to consider and not within the remit of the Major Strategic Review for the Synod in Victoria and Tasmania. 


  • How is the process going - will a summary of survey submissions be available for review? It is important that the church remembers that it is comprised of a variety of differing views which need recognition whilst maintaining its unity in those views. We seem to have far too much emphasis on some areas such as justice and not enough on mission and outreach to our communities to express and show God's love.

    ericafox asked over 3 years ago

    Hi,

    Thank you for your email and thank you also for taking the time to write to the Major Strategic Review.

    In response to your query, the Major Strategic Review (MSR) process is well underway and we are now in the sorting and analysing data phase of the project. This data has come from both questionnaires and face to face meetings and by listening to our members at various meetings and forums over the past few months. A summary of the Questionnaire responses has been incorporated in the Major Strategic Review's interim report to Synod 2014. Closer to the Synod meeting dates (19-24 September), an electronic version of the report will be available in the 'Resource and Documents Section' of our website. The report will also provide insight on how the team is addressing the issue of unifying the diverse views across the Church.

    I hope my response has gone some way to answering your question. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you require anything further. You can also email us - MSR@victas.uca.org.au

    Yours sincerely

    The MSR Team