The Uniting Church in Australia is organised not by a hierarchy, but by groups of women and men, lay and ordained, working together, usually making decisions by consensus, in each area of the church’s life.
The church is a series of inter-related councils—local churches, regional presbyteries, state synods, and the national assembly. Each council has distinct tasks and recognises the limits of its responsibilities in relation to other councils.
Uniting Church congregations are caring communities to which all people can belong. Congregations are made up of older people and young, families and single people, people of one culture or many. Across Australia there are at least forty different languages used in worship in the Uniting Church.
There are long-standing congregations and new and very different ones—café style churches, groups that find it better to worship on Wednesdays than Sundays, or who minister across a vast region rather than a local area.
While our congregations can be vastly different, each aims to embrace people and unite them with each other and with God. This is expressed in part in our having an open table for Holy Communion to which all baptised people are invited, welcoming children for baptism and being willing to marry those who are divorced.
Our congregations are communities in which people seek to follow Jesus, learn about God, share their faith, care for each other, serve the local community, and seek to live faithfully and with real joy. This is the kind of engaging church to which we belong.
A presbytery is a council which has oversight of congregations, ministry and programs within a region. People in specified ministry (ministers, deacons, etc) are responsible to the presbytery. It cares for them and ensures their work is carried out faithfully. There are eight presbyteries in Queensland.
A synod is the state council of the Uniting Church. The six synods of the Uniting Church support and resource the church in their area—especially in community services, mission planning, theological and other educational services, administration of ministers and property, and finance. The elected head of each synod is the moderator, and a general secretary is usually appointed as the chief executive officer. The Synod Standing Committee is a group of elected members who have decision making responsibility for the Uniting Church in Queensland between meetings of the synod (which are held every 18 months).
The Assembly is national council of the Uniting Church in Australia, headed by the president of the Uniting Church, with a general secretary as chief executive officer. National Assembly meetings are held every three years.
Boards, commissions and committees
There are a number of boards, commissions and committees of the Queensland Synod where people can offer their time and gifts in service to the church. If you are you interested in volunteering on one of these or simply want more information click here.