The Sydney Central Coast Presbytery

Within the Uniting Church, a Presbytery is a region in which a number of congregations and their ministers, leaders and members work together to support, encourage, oversee and share the life of the church. The Presbytery may include other mission centres, such as church schools and childcare, Uniting facilities, hospital or tertiary chaplaincies, Lifeline and many other service organisations, and even Uniting Church congregations related to another body such as the Korean Presbytery or Wesley Mission.
 
Since the formation of the UCA in 1977, the five Presbyteries in the greater Sydney region have maintained their original size and shape, with the addition of the Korean Presbytery in 2012 which brought together some of the Korean-language congregations across NSW and the ACT. In recent years the Synod has questioned the rationale of the number and shape of Presbyteries without finding agreement. However effective congregational resourcing and oversight can be better achieved when economies of scale and geographical realities are accounted for.
 
The boundaries between and around Sydney North and Kuring-gai Presbyteries in particular have never seemed logical. The magic line between them divided suburbs and congregations of very similar demographics along no discernable geographic boundary. In recent years Sydney North and Kuring-gai (the SNaK Presbyteries) have been cooperating in ministry retreats, educational and training opportunities, university chaplaincy, youth training and activities. They shared the same UnitingCare Ageing region. Together they roughly cover the same region as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Broken Bay, which has been a positive and proactive ecumenical partner on many occasions.
 

In mid-2015 the two Presbyteries began formal conversations and planning to be dissolved by Synod and recreated as a single region.

A Proposal to Synod 2016

Towards the Sydney Central Coast Presbytery

The Spirit is on the move! What can we do but follow? Much has happened in the life of the Ku-ring-gai and Sydney North Presbyteries since the Spring 2014 Synod. In particular, both Presbyteries have resolved to request the Synod to make of us one new Presbytery. 
 
On 30/05/2015 Ku-ring-gai Presbytery made the decision that the status quo could not continue, that it needed to be more intentional in mission and move towards a structure that would support the mission of the God in the Church within the resources available.
On 3/09/2015 Sydney North Presbytery responded, by consensus, to join with Ku-ring-gai in taking this path.
 
Thus, as committees are a grand tradition of the Uniting Church, a Working Group was established to move towards the formation of a new Presbytery. Subsequently, in 2016, this task has been taken on directly by a Joint Interim Standing Committee (authorised by both Presbyteries and the Synod Standing Committee).
 
Meanwhile the other committees of both Presbyteries have commenced meeting together to begin the process of bringing two cultures and two ways of being Presbytery together. A particular highlight was a Combined Presbytery Meeting on 12 March 2016 in which we together dreamed and planned what a renewed vision and mission for the Uniting Church in Australia might look like in Northern Sydney and the Central Coast. The Presbyteries are being assisted by Uniting Mission and Education (primarily by Rev. Suzanne Stanton), have engaged Mr. David Hay (former Executive Secretary, Sydney Presbytery) as a project coordinator, and Rev. Graham Perry continues as Sydney North Presbytery Minister.

Proposals to the Synod of NSW/ACT

The Presbyteries of Sydney North and Ku-ring-gai, in seeking to better fulfil their function

“to perform all the acts of oversight necessary to the life and mission of the Church in the area for which [they are] responsible… in particular to exercise oversight over the congregations within the bounds, encouraging them to strengthen one another’s faith, to bear one another’s burdens, and exhort them to fulfil their high calling in Christ Jesus” (Basis of Union)

jointly make the following proposal to the Synod:

that Synod, in accordance with Regulation 3.4.6, resolve to form a new Presbytery effective from 22 June 2016, with all the powers and responsibilities of a Presbytery, and with the following provisions:
  1. That the name of the new Presbytery be Sydney Central Coast Presbytery.
  2. That the bounds of Sydney Central Coast Presbytery be the combined bounds of the Sydney North and Ku-ring-gai Presbyteries.
  3. All congregations and Faith Communities that are part of the Ku-ring-gai and Sydney North Presbyteries shall be part of and recognised by the Sydney Central Coast Presbytery (Reg. 3.4.1.a, 3.9.2.a).
  4. Prior to the creation of the Sydney Central Coast Presbytery a congregation may request to be part of a neighbouring Presbytery. The bounds of the Sydney Central Coast Presbytery shall reflect the location of any reallocated congregation.
  5. That the first meeting of the Sydney Central Coast Presbytery shall take place on 22 June 2016 at the Turramurra Uniting Church.
  6. That the Sydney Central Coast Presbytery become the Responsible Body of all property for which:
    1. Ku-ring-gai Presbytery is the Responsible Body
    2. Sydney North Presbytery is the Responsible Body.
  7. That in accordance with regulation 3.4.7, Synod resolve to dissolve the Ku-ring-gai Presbytery and the Sydney North Presbytery on a date suitable to the finalisation of all governance duties.
 
Click for Powerpoint Presentation to Synod 2016
 
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Click for Script for Powerpoint Presentation

SCCP at a Glance

Sydney Central Coast Presbytery was established on 22 June, 2017 (the 39th Anniversary of the formation of the Uniting Church) in a celebration service at Turramurra Uniting Church, led by the Presbytery Minister of the new Presbytery and the Moderator of the Synod of NSW/ACT, Rev. Myung Hwa Park.
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More to follow here.