We support property acquisition, leasing, development and disposal for all organisations within the Synod
The Church believes in justice and supporting the marginalised and poor. However we possess substantial wealth in property and other resources, while millions of people live in poverty.
It poses the question about how our collective resources should be best maintained and managed.
According to The Basis of Union (Paragraph 3) - "The (Uniting) Church (in Australia) exists in historical, social, cultural and economic contexts. It lives in the world in this “time between.”
The Church lives between the time of Christ’s death and resurrection and the final consummation of all things which Christ will bring; the Church is a pilgrim people, always on the way towards a promised goal; here the Church does not have a continuing city but seeks one to come."
"All Church property is the common wealth of the community of Christ to serve its purpose in proclaiming the gospel. The entire Church is, therefore, responsible for using and managing property. Decisions about property must not be made in isolation, but in relation to one another as the community of Christ."
As stated by the By-Laws at 8.1.1 - "Uniting Resources, with God’s help and a servant heart, strives to provide innovative leadership and professional services in the effective management and creative use of the Church’s resources to achieve God’s mission."
Any significant property-related decisions must be approved by the Synod Property Board, as all property is legally owned by the Property Trust.
The Property Services Unit acknowledges that Congregation and Presbytery members take good care and stewardship of our property.
While no individual part of the Church “owns” or has a “right” to property we provide a helpful service of one-stop advice and services.
As the property portfolio is very diverse our advice and services are also diverse and vast.
Our aim is to work in partnership.
Congregations are responsible for enabling local worship, witness and service. Providing facilities and resources in support of the work of the Congregation (Regulations 3.1.1(c)(vi))
Presbyteries are responsible for the oversight of Congregations as is “necessary to the life and mission of the Church”, and “stimulating and encouraging the Congregations” (Constitution para 26).
The Synod is responsible for “the general oversight, direction and administration of… worship, witness and service…”. “Exercising executive, administrative, pastoral and disciplinary functions over Presbyteries…” (Constitution para 32).
Any property-related decision must be well-informed by professional expertise.
It’s important that adequate consultation and feedback is addressed before any final decisions are made.
The Proceeds of Sale Policy was approved by Synod and Synod Standing Committee to guide the use of proceeds of sale based around the intentional use of property to support God's mission.
The document outlines how the use of sales proceeds is to be determined within the Synod emphasising the role of property to support mission, the importance of mission planning, the creation of a consultation team to assist in decision making and the sharing of sales proceeds.
In June and July 2014, the Rev. Niall Reid conducted property workshops which created opportunities and promoted conversations around the Church’s wealth of property and how we should ‘use’ our assets to respond to Christ’s call to be the Church he has commissioned us to be.
At the Synod Meeting in September 2014 a number of proposals that reflected the conversations during the consutations and workshops were tabled relating to proceeds of sale, manse policy and the particular covenantal relationship with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC).
Synod Standing Committee was tasked by the Synod to: “Articulate the purpose of the Sales Proceeds Policy, including a biblical reflection on missional use of property, not stewardship”, which affirmed the general understanding that the primary role of property is to support mission.
So far three special issues have been produced which have outlined this journey (and are available to view and/or download below), with the latest being Property for a Pilgrim People: Proceeds of Sale Policy (released in March 2015) which seeks to provide some biblical reflection, incorporate what we understand by ‘mission’” and articulate how property fits into that mission story, along with the proposed Proceeds of Sale Policy.