Like the Presbytery Standing Committee (SC), the Pastoral Relations Committee (PRC) serves all our congregations. It is particularly responsible for the wellbeing and healthy functioning of Congregations, in line with the first pillar of the strategic plan: resourcing Congregations to function in healthy ways. In some instances, it also relates to the third pillar, to care for Congregations facing change. Pastoral support for Ministers and Pastors in placement is also a key focus of the PRC.
The PRC is chaired by Elizabeth Raine. Ex-officio members are the two Co-Chairs, Judy McKinlay and Ross Kingham, and the two Presbytery Ministers, Andrew Smith and John Squires. The Presbytery has elected as members of PRC Dorothea Wojnar, Sukumar Subramaniam, Irene Lund, James Ellis, Julie Fletcher, Neil Fletcher, Jean Shannon, Neil Millar, Riana Kok, and Daniel Mossfield. The committee meets every month, and members of the PRC are active in undertaking delegated work in the intervening weeks.
In the Uniting Church, once a minister has been in their placement for six months, an Affirmation of Call process is undertaken, to assess the ‘fit’ of minister to placement and to provide guidance on any issues of concern. At the most recent PRC meeting, reports were received relating to the placements of both Presbytery Ministers. As a result, both Andrew and John have been affirmed for the ministries they are offering within the Presbytery.
Similar Affirmation of Call processes will soon engage the newest cohort of ministers in our Presbytery (Jean Shannon, Geoff Dornan, Andrew Jago and Apelu Tielu). In each case, members of the Church Council are invited to have conversations with the PRC team alongside of their conversation with the Minister. Additionally, members of PRC provide mentoring to Ministers who are in their first placement after ordination (currently, Duncan McDiarmid and Andrew Jago).
Members of PRC are presently undertaking Life and Witness Consultations with Mount Dromedary, St Ninian’s Lyneham, and Yarralumla, and a large-scale consultation with all 15 of the preaching places within the Congregations of Crookwell, Yass, and Goulburn. Their aim is to assist members of the Congregations and of Presbytery to discern together the future orientations of mission and ministry in each place.
Within the PRC meetings, reports are given relating to the planning of education and training opportunities within the Presbytery; Ethical Ministry Workshops as required for all ministry leadership within the Presbytery; and other processes as requested which relate to the life and health of ministry in various places.
The Candidates Sub-Committee reports to the PRC. It oversees applications for ministry candidature, and the weekly Formation Programme for the Canberra cohort of candidates. There are three candidates in formation (Sharon Jacobs, Brendon Lukin, and Delia Quigley) and one applicant in process (Amy Junor).
Two people are also undertaking a Period of Discernment (POD) (James Ellis and Tracey Austwick). The Period of Discernment is akin to a time of spiritual direction, in which any member of a Congregation can seek guidance and support to carefully reflect on their relationship with God and how he may be speaking to them or calling them to new directions. Anyone interested in undertaking such a dedicated time for discernment should contact the PRC.