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Closure sought on organic union

Among the tasks of the Forum of UCANZ is to elect the members and chairperson of its Standing Committee.

The Standing Committee is made up of eight representatives from the five partner churches and nine from Uniting Congregations. It acts as the board of governance for the Forum and develops policy it can implement.

This year there were only nine nominations from the congregations so no election was held. New additions to the Standing Committee are Geoff Donovan from Johnsonville Uniting Parish, Neville Price from Hutt City Uniting Congregation, Mary Sutton from Thames Union Parish, and Graeme White from Te Atatu Union Parish.

Long- serving Associated Churches of Christ representative on the Standing Committee Kevin O’Connor stood down to be replaced by Lyndsay Jacobs.

The Forum elected Dave Mullan to be its new chair. Dave has served for three terms on the Standing Committee and was nominated by several joint region committees. He is a retired Methodist presbyter.

Dave says he is known as a person with strong views that he doesn’t hesitate to express. As chair he sees his role to be a moderator guiding the flow of discussion rather than an advocate for moving in particular directions.

“I take my role as chairperson seriously. There are not a whole lot of barrows I want to wheel in the committe,” he says.

One thing Dave would like to hear more information from the partner churches about their search for organic union.

“In the past five or six years we have heard the heads of churches say they are no longer on that search. I would like to know if this is simply their opinion or it is the position of their membership.

“Dialogues are taking place between the different partner churches about such topics as mutual recognition of ministry but not organic union. As it stands, the churches have made the Act of Commitment in 1967 to seek union.

“We now have 141 Uniting Congregations that got together expecting that their parents were going to marry. The parents are now apparently saying the wedding is off. If so, perhaps they should make an official ‘act of un-commitment’. That would give some closure.”

“Recording of property is another vital issue. We need to have a complete list of properties that local churches owned when they went into cooperation. The Standing Committee will be assisting CVs with these in 2006.

Another issue Dave sees as important is the Partner Support Fund. He believes it is important the Uniting Congregations honor their commitment to the partner churches and contribute adequately to the support fund. He is pleased that this year their giving was up 10 percent after some years of decline.

He is also concerned about the cost of running of Standing Committee meetings and would like to see them be more effective.

Because he is retired, Dave and his wife Bev are free to travel. He would like to be invited to visit some parishes and JRCs in conjunction with trips to the Standing Committee.