Uniting Church Governance

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18 December, 2018

Deliberations within the wider Uniting Church regarding new Networks and Presbyteries has created confusion around the structure of UCA governance.

This link provides some insight into how Presbytery currently operates in SA. The move towards an additional non-geographic presbytery and potentially other presbyteries will affect the current model. Networks (such as ACC, Catalyst) differ from Presbyteries in that they do not have any authority within the formal governance structures of the UCA.

We will continue to communicate with the congregation to provide more clarity on this in coming months as changes become clearer.

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2020 Bible Reading Plan

Throughout 2019 a number of us read the Bible together as a part of our desire to be a people focused on Jesus. This was a part of a three year Bible Reading Plan and 2020 will be year 2. It has been really helpful and fun for those of us who followed this in 2019. We encourage everyone, even if you missed out last year, to join with us this year and be encouraged as we encounter God through the Bible readings each week.

We've got a few options on how you can join us below. Developing a Bible reading habit can be challenging so let’s do it together. By doing so, not only will you read the Bible (either by yourself or in groups) but you have the opportunity to share with others the insights you are gaining from the readings and be encouraged to keep going.

We are following Tim Chester’s 3-year Bible Reading Plan which will take us through the Old Testament once and the New Testament twice (see the back of this flyer). It’s in weekly chunks so there is no pressure if you happen to miss a day. It’s flexible and manageable.

There are a range of ways you could join us:

- Read the set readings on your own and prayerfully journal your thoughts.

- Read the readings, journal your thoughts and have a weekly catch up with two others (a reflection triplet) in person over a cuppa or over the phone or skype. Sign up on the church website/app or [email the Church Office](mailto:%20office@corouniting.org).

- Join the WhatsApp group by texting Cat Patrick on 0425 752 140 and share your thoughts with a group of us.

- Get your Life Group involved and use the readings as the basis of your sharing each week.

- Join Simon 9am Saturdays from January 18 in the chapel for shared reading.

[See here for the 2019 reading list](https://www.corouniting.org/news/2019-bible-reading-plan)

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Screening Checks

What different Screening Checks are there?

There are several different Screening Checks that may be required for people who volunteer or work in the Uniting Church. The most common of these are:

- [Working with Children Checks](https://screening.sa.gov.au/types-of-check/new-working-with-children-checks) (WWCCs)

- [General Employment Probity Checks](https://screening.sa.gov.au/types-of-check/general-employment)

- [Vulnerable Person Related Employment Checks](https://screening.sa.gov.au/types-of-check/vulnerable-people)

How do I know which Screening Check I need?

The [Information on the Screening and Authority Process](https://sa.uca.org.au/documents/safe-church/screening/Information-on-the-screening-and-authority-process.pdf) sheet includes details about which Screening Checks are needed when. This information is summarised below:

Working with Children Check (WWCC) - valid for 5 years (portable)

See our [Working with Children Check](https://www.corouniting.org/resources/working-with-children-checks) resource page for information or continue reading to apply for one.

General Employment Probity Check - valid for 3 years (non-portable) and required for:

- Ministry Agents in active service (eg. Ministers and Pastors) and employees in the church

- Church Council members and office bearers

- Anyone who is rostered or requested by a church leader to drive members to/from church activities

- Anyone who deals with or handles money

Vulnerable Person Related Employment Check - valid for 3 years (portable) and required for:

- Ministry Agents in active service (eg. Ministers and Pastors) and employees in the church

- Anyone who undertakes intentional pastoral care on behalf of the congregation

- Anyone who leads or assists with worship services in aged care facilities or hospitals

- Anyone who works with refugees or migrants

- Anyone offering social support services (eg. counselling, financial support, soup kitchen)

So, how do I apply for these Screening Checks?

Screening Check requests are facilitated by the SA Synod via an application made on the [Safe Church Screening](https://sa.uca.org.au/safechurch/screening) page. Information collected from this application will initiate a Screening Check with the DHS.

Use [this flowchart](https://www.corouniting.org/d/FaeybjdxhLl5IZu5i6ip5N86g) (which refers to the below two information sheets) to follow the process through.

- [Information on the Screening and Authority Process](https://sa.uca.org.au/documents/safe-church/screening/Information-on-the-screening-and-authority-process.pdf)

- [Process for Screening Checks](https://sa.uca.org.au/documents/safe-church/screening/process-for-screening-checks.pdf)

If you have any queries, please contact our [Safe Church Congregation Liaison](mailto:office@corouniting.org) (Sue Laycock).

* Note that if you are under 18 you will still need to go through the first part of this process, however you will be unable to verify your ID online and will need to complete a 100 point check via the DHS website.

* Note that if you don't have an Australian driver's licence and an Australian passport (acceptable even if expired for up to two years) or a numbered Australian birth certificate or a numbered Australian citizenship certificate, you will need to complete this [100 Point Identity Verification Check](https://sa.uca.org.au/documents/safe-church/screening/100-point-form.pdf) instead of using the online DHS process.

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Working with Children Checks

What is a Working with Children Check, and do I need one?

A [Working with Children Check](https://screening.sa.gov.au/types-of-check/new-working-with-children-checks) (WWCC) is a government assessment to check whether or not an individual is safe to work with children.

A WWCC is needed for all people who work or volunteer with children, however given the definition of 'child related work' in South Australia (see [here](https://sa.uca.org.au/safechurch/screening) for details), the Uniting Church has decided that everyone in a role of responsibility within the church (ie. all leaders and helpers aged 14+) must have a valid WWCC.

What about the existing Police Check forms?

The new WWCCs were introduced on 1 July 2019 and are stronger, more effective and more transparent than the previous Uniting Church Screening Checks ('Police Checks').

From now until 30 June 2020 we are in a transition period as the new WWCC process is established. During this time:

- DHS/DCSI child-related employment screening clearances that are current and valid will be recognised as WWCCs under the law, until they expire, however note below process to register this clearance with the church;

- Uniting Church Screening Checks (ie. the previous 'Police Checks') that are current and valid will be recognised as WWCCs under the law until 1 July 2020 (unless they expire earlier). If you hold an existing check with an expiry date after 1 July 2020, you will need to apply for a new WWCC before May 2020 (to ensure sufficient processing time).

I already have a valid DHS/DCSI clearance... do I need to do anything?

Yes - you need to do two things:

- Inform our [Safe Church Congregation Liaison](mailto:office@corouniting.org) (Sue Laycock) who will make a record of the number.

- Complete [this online form](https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=r0DtqNz2okaIje65rSzlomtw-plBPQ1ItEpJ2qPlNsFUQUpENlNBOTNGWkJUUUlVTVpRVkM2WEtFTCQlQCN0PWcu), entering the number of your valid clearance at Question 13 and continuing to see whether further [Screening Checks](https://www.corouniting.org/resources/screening-checks) are required. This enables the Uniting Church to register an interest in your valid DHS/DCSI clearance.

What's the difference between the old and new checks?

There are several differences, including:

- The new checks are portable, in other words WWCCs from another organisation are now able to be recognised by the Uniting Church, ie. there is no longer a need to complete a specific Uniting Church check if you already have a valid WWCC through another organisation (eg. via the Education Department)

- The new checks are valid for 5 years (previously 3 years) and are now continuously monitored

The new checks remain free for all volunteers. For more FAQs see pp.5-6 of the [Information on the Screening and Authority Process](https://sa.uca.org.au/documents/safe-church/screening/Information-on-the-screening-and-authority-process.pdf) information sheet.

I think I may need a new WWCC... what do I need to do?

Make yourself a cup of tea and head over to our [Screening Checks](https://www.corouniting.org/resources/screening-checks) resource page for further information.

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