Social Justice

15th Assembly Proposal on Marriage and Same-Gender Relationships

The Assembly Standing Committee was asked by the Fourteenth Assembly to support the continuing work of the Working Group on Doctrine in relation to marriage and same-gender relationships, to consult widely and bring a report with recommendations to the Fifteenth Assembly.

This proposal is now available: Click here to download

The 15th Assembly meeting will be hosted by the Synod of Victoria and Tasmania at the Box Hill Town Hall, Melbourne from Sunday 8 July until Saturday 14 July 2018.

To learn more about the Triennial Assembly: Click here
To learn more about the Marriage Conversation: Click here

Northern Beaches Refugee Initiative

The Northern Beaches Refugee Initiative (NBRI) was formed as a non-denominational and unaffiliated volunteer group in August 2016 with the purpose of assisting the resettlement of Syrian refugees in this area. The generous support of Northern Beaches churches, community groups and individuals has enabled NBRI to directly support nine Armenian Syrian families with rental assistance and inclusive mentoring as they settle into the Northern Beaches.

The families have a variety of circumstances from school age children through to aged grandparents, but all have progressed in their assimilation through housing stability, facilitation of ESL and driving lessons, and coordination of the various governmental processes and programs on offer. NBRI also assists with social and cultural integration by building relationships with newly arrived families to provide ongoing social support. The successes are a credit to the welcoming good will of the Northern Beaches community.

How can you help?

Ongoing employment is crucial for the long-term success of families. Opportunities are being sought in a range of sectors including food preparation, hospitality and labouring/handyman work. There are also several highly skilled Silversmiths who are looking for work.

Support is also required to help refugees to obtain their Australian Driver Licence. Many of the refugees had licences in Syria and can already drive. However, assistance is required to help them gain confidence driving in Sydney. 

If you can assist with the provision of employment opportunities OR if you have a full Australian Licence and are willing to spend time taking people driving please contact Heather Wrathall on Please note volunteers are required to use their own cars (automatic transmission) and need to have appropriate insurance in place.
Click here to download the latest NBRI Update


Lifeline Northern Beaches

Balgowlah Uniting Church was instrumental in establishing Lifeline Northern Beaches and continues to be very involved. Lifeline Northern Beaches has been serving the area for over 40 years, and is part of the national Lifeline network, which is the leading provider of suicide prevention services in Australia. There are many volunteers attached to the church, and three members of the current Board of LNB (Rev. John Barker, Brian Lees & Sue Saunders).

Thanks & Congratulations to Steve Byrne!

Steve has been generously volunteering for over 30 years and continues to assist in the Lifeline office at Balgowlah. Lifeline Australia has awarded him with the NSW Volunteer of the Year Award.


StreetWork Northern Beaches
Each year StreetWork 
helps many young people in Sydney’s north turn their lives back on track. While each individual has a story that is unique, they all share a background of great personal suffering and countless challenges. They also share the experience and pride of driving their own personal turn arounds.

StreetWork was established by Peter Hobbs OAM in Chatswood more than 30 years ago on the premise that one supportive mentor is often all that is needed to turn a young life around. Since then, StreetWork

has grown to serve much of Sydney’s north through branches on the North Shore and Northern Beaches. There are plans to expand the organisation’s reach even further in the future. The Northern Beaches Uniting Churches are currently working closely with and supporting StreetWork in different ways.



Triennial Assembly Link


The Triennial Assembly is a meeting of approximately 265 members of the Uniting Church in Australia.

Members are elected by Synods and Presbyteries across the country. These elected members join with office holders, Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress members, youthful members and others to form a national decision-making body.

Members of the Assembly meet for six days every three years in a different state or territory each time.

The discussion centres on the direction and priorities of the Uniting Church in Australia for the next triennium.

The outcome is a series of decisions that guide the life of the Church and its advocacy over the following three years.


The Assembly is guided by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God, prophets and scholars, and the Church’s Basis of UnionConstitution and Regulations


The Assembly has its main meeting once every three years, the venue being decided at the previous meeting. The 14th Assembly was held in Perth in July 2015.

Participants in the Triennial Assembly

The Assembly participants are drawn from the six synods, 30 presbyteries and various Assembly agencies and working groups. They gather to study the Bible, worship together and pray, review the life of the Church over the past three years, reflect on reports and recommendations, and determine the course of the Church in Australia and overseas.


The Assembly elects its President at the triennial meeting. The current President is Dr Deidre Palmer,  who was elected at the 14th Assembly and installed at the 15th Assembly. The President-elect is Rev Sharon Hollis.


Discerning the spirit

Members of the Triennial Assembly are expected to be open both to the Holy Spirit and to each other.

The Uniting Church believes that we hear the voice of God in the councils of our Church.

When a council of the Church makes decisions, it is aiming to discern the guidance of the Holy Spirit in response to the word of God.

We believe church meetings that encourage community and listening to one another in openness and humility are more likely to discern the will of God. 

The business of the Assembly

The business of the Triennial Assembly meeting falls into three broad categories:

  • Holding the agencies and working groups of the Assembly accountable to the Church.
    • Making decisions on those matters for which the Assembly has determining responsibility according to the Constitution.
    • Making decisions that offer leadership and guidance to the Church.

Because we seek to discern the guidance of the Holy Spirit, a great deal of time is also set aside for prayer, worship and Bible studies.

Written reports are presented by Assembly agencies, together with presentations made by working groups and task groups. Time is devoted to discussing these reports and presentations in small groups, and questions are answered in plenary sessions.

Members of the Assembly also discuss proposals in table groups as a way of helping every voice to be heard. Individuals are also given the opportunity to speak to the plenary and share their insights.

How the meeting works

The business of the six-day Triennial Assembly meeting consists of reports from the Assembly agencies and working groups; business referred by the Assembly Standing Committee; and proposals brought by Synods, Presbyteries or any two members of the Assembly.

A timetable is published ahead of the meeting. Due to the nature of the meeting it is often necessary for the Business Committee to adjust the timetable from day to day.

A daily agenda offering more detail on particular business to be discussed on each day of the Assembly is made available at the beginning of each day.

The Triennial Assembly meeting is chaired by the newly-installed President.

Consensus Decision-Making

The Triennial Assembly meeting operates on a consensus model of decision-making set out in the Uniting Church’s Manual for Meetings.

Coloured cards are used by Members to indicate their response to proposals and reports being discussed.

Orange cards indicate warmth to a point of view or approval of a proposal.

Blue cards indicate that a person is not ready to support the proposal. This coolness could be because they need more information, have a question or disapprove of a proposal.

These indications enable the chairperson and the whole meeting to gauge the strength of feeling for various ideas.

14th Assembly Agenda

The Triennial Assembly papers are avilable here.

Assembly Minutes 

15th Assembly (2018)

14th Assembly (2015)

13th Assembly (2012)

12th Assembly (2009)

11th Assembly (2006)

10th Assembly (2003)

9th Assembly (2000)

8th Assembly (1997)

7th Assembly (1994)

6th Assembly (1991)

5th Assembly (1988)

4th Assembly (1985)

3rd Assembly (1982)

2nd Assembly (1979)

1st Assembly (1977)

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