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Thirteenth triennial Assembly in Adelaide

PEOPLE who have no business to be together will gather for the 13th triennial Assembly meeting of the Uniting Church in Australia in Adelaide from 15 to 21 July.

This unsettling image of Christian community is one proposed by President-elect the Rev Professor Andrew Dutney during an interview about the Assembly theme, Life Overflowing.

The church is a sign and a foretaste of the kingdom of God, suggests Professor Dutney, that "thin place" where relationships between unlikely people – men, women, slaves, gentiles and Jews – allow the kingdom to break through into history and into the world.

The theme draws on John 10:10, "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly", and was chosen by Professor Dutney who begins his presidency on the first day of Assembly, succeeding the Rev Alistair Macrae.

Professor Dutney sees his role as nurturing congregations, as well as championing the work of ministry.

The local church is the hope of the world, he says.

"It is a sign, foretaste and instrument of reconciliation and renewal.

"It is a beachhead of the kingdom of God."

Key discussions at the 13th Assembly

A wide range of issues will be canvassed at the 13th Assembly.

For example, the Assembly has responsibility for setting the standards of theological education for people in specified ministry.

The Ministerial Education Commission has done that work, but there is a proposal to form an Education and Ministry Working Group to be responsible for that work instead.

A proposal to review the Ministry of Pastor adopted at the 11th Assembly meeting in Brisbane in 2006 will be put to the 13th Assembly.

The Assembly will also be asked to consider establishing a task group to review the operation of the part of the regulations related to appeals.

There will be several items of business in relation to marriage, but there is no proposal before the 13th Assembly that will change the existing doctrine of marriage of the Uniting Church in Australia.

Fast facts about Assembly WHO The Assembly is the national council of the Uniting Church in Australia and has responsibility in matters of doctrine, worship, government and discipline.

The triennial Assembly meeting will bring together some 265 representatives elected by the six synods and 30 presbyteries, plus participants from various agencies and working groups, to form the decision-making body of the Assembly.


The Assembly meets every three years for one week.

Between meetings, the Assembly Standing Committee gathers three times a year to follow up decisions and deal with matters arising in the intervening period.


The discussion revolves around social and policy issues relating to the Uniting Church in Australia.

The outcome is a series of decisions affecting the corporate life of the Uniting Church.