New rules for Ministers from other denominations

Saturday, 21 July 2012

The Uniting Church has a new regulation for applications by ministers of other denominations to serve in placements.

The Church’s Assembly, meeting in Adelaide on 20 July 2012, replaced the original regulation for admission of ministers from other denominations.

The change was made in response to a number of areas of difficulty in the previous system of recognition and admission and a context very different to the one that existed when the regulations were drafted at the time of Church Union.

Principles undergirding the changes related to:

  • missional responsiveness and denominational identity;
  • educational and formational standards;
  • knowledge of the Uniting Church;
  • being a minister in “good standing”;
  • being subject to the discipline of the church;
  • having a clear process; and
  • quantifiable standards.

Assembly Standing Committee recommended that there should be a new framework setting guidelines, rules and standards (and ultimately determining matters relating to ordination), and that a synod-based body should manage the application and make appropriate determinations in accordance with Assembly-set standards.

In addition, such a synod body would manage and oversee any request of an ordained person from another denomination to serve in ministry in the Uniting Church, whether or not that person sought to be recognised as a Uniting Church minister.

The new regulations make normative the practice of serving in a Uniting Church placement prior to seeking admission as a minister of the Uniting Church and set out specific steps in the assessment of a minister of another church who seeks a placement within the Uniting Church.

Synods will assess the suitability of applicants to serve in a ministry of the church, including language proficiency relevant to context.

The Assembly will establish guidelines for assessing the suitability of, and requirements for the education and formation of, ordained ministers of other denominations who apply to serve in a placement for a minister in the church or for admission as a minister of the word.