38. AMENDMENT TO REGULATION 2.11.1 – MINISTERS IN ASSOCIATION (Presbytery of Tasmania)

Friday, 15 June 2012

That the Assembly resolve to

1.         authorise the Assembly Standing Committee, on the advice of the Legal Reference Committee, to amend Regulation 2.11.1 by the addition of a new clause (b) to read:

(b)        Where there is no inducted Minister, a Minister not in an approved placement in a Congregation(s) nor designated not available for placement may, on the invitation of a Church Council and with the approval of the Presbytery, become a Minister-in-Association with the Congregation to fulfil such pastoral, preaching or other responsibilities as may be agreed with the Church Council and the Presbytery, with the appointment and responsibilities to be reviewed annually;

1. renumber clauses (b) to (d);

2. authorise the Assembly Standing Committee to

    1. (a)review the Regulations with a view to determining whether any Regulations need to be amended to better serve the Church in the light of its current experience that whereas it was once the norm that there would be a Minister in placement, in many contexts there is no likelihood of there being an approved placement in the foreseeable future; and
    2. (b)amend those Regulations, in the light of this review, on the advice of the Legal Reference Committee.

Rationale:

Demographic and social changes are resulting in growing numbers of congregations no longer falling into the categories of either an approved placement or a placement vacancy. More and more congregations not only find themselves without a minister in placement but may never again have a minister in placement. The Presbytery of Tasmania believes there is a need to review Regulations that are premised either on a person being in placement or the certainty a vacancy will ultimately be filled. 

The current Minister-in-Association regulations are premised on a person being 'in association' with the 'minister in placement' and not with the congregation. When there is no approved placement then there is no capacity for 'association with the congregation' and therefore the 'minister-in-association' arrangement lapses at exactly the time when it may be most useful for the congregation and the presbytery to have a structured relationship in place. The proposed change seeks to address this issue.

The Minister-in-Association issue is one instance of Regulations no longer serving the church we are becoming as we live with the reality that many congregations will not have a placement in the traditional sense.

The third clause requests the Assembly Standing Committee to identify other regulations which may need addressing as a result of more and more congregations not having placements. Some examples of Regulations that are in the mind of the Presbytery are: Regulation 2.3.2.2(a) Candidates for Ministry make written application either through a Minister or an appropriate member of a ministerial team. Regulation 2.3.2.3(a)(i) An application to candidate includes a confidential report from the applicant's Minister. Regulations 2.3.3(b)(i) and 2.3.3(c)(i) An application for Pastor requires a confidential testimonial from the Minister. Regulation 2.3.4(c) The Minister forwards an application to train as a Lay Preacher.

In bringing these proposals it is the hope of the Presbytery of Tasmania that all congregations, both those with an approved placement and those without, will have a sense of being connected to the wider church and strengthened by regulations which are relevant to their situation.