Dear friends in Christ,
Earlier this year consultation across the life of the Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod, was undertaken to identify how the church may best provide for payments associated with redress and civil litigation relating to historical instances of child sexual abuse.
We appreciate the substantial and thoughtful responses that came from many parts of our church.
The Synod Standing Committee has reflected on these, in the light of the Basis of Union, and our commitment as a church to bear witness to the gospel. We will not hide from the truth of abuse within the church, and we will seek, with compassion and humility, to address the issues and challenges that have emerged for us. We will say “sorry” to anyone who was sexually abused while in our care and, in consultation with those so affected, actively seek ways to make amends for what happened in the past and identify how we can best offer support into the future.
This is an integral part of our life and witness to the gospel. As a result, Synod Standing Committee has given consideration to how best the church may provision for financial redress. In doing so, it has determined that the Synod office will continue to administer the total costs for claims for historical abuse, and the costs of these claims will be funded by a Synod wide recovery scheme.
Each part of the church will be required to contribute to the recovery scheme including congregations, presbyteries, UnitingCare Queensland, Wesley Mission Queensland, Property Trust Schools and the Synod office. This is consistent with the New Testament conviction that the church is many parts of the one body. I firmly believe this is the fairest solution.
The contribution will depend on the total amount of redress payments made in financial year. The amount allocated to a council or oversight body will be appointed according to a formula based on the average of total revenue and insured value of property (building and contents, excluding motor vehicles) held by your council or oversight body.
Payments to the Synod cost recovery scheme will be paid retrospectively per financial year, commencing July 2019.
I recognise that the contribution to a cost recovery scheme may be unplanned and will potentially take funds away from other areas of ministry. However, as a church, we are committed to doing all that we can to provide fair, consistent and compassionate redress for people who were sexually abused as children in our care.
I commend the scheme to you.
With you in the ministry of Christ
(Rev) David Baker