People are serving in Port Phillip East Presbytery as Pastors in a range of ministry roles – school chaplains, youth workers, children and family workers, pastoral workers, and in congregational ministry leadership. They come from varied backgrounds and with a range of work, education and church experiences. Pastors may run youth groups or Messy Church, lead worship, provide pastoral care, teach Christian faith, connect with families in the community – many kinds of worthwhile ministry with people.
During COVID lockdown in 2021, Kaylea Fearn was commissioned online as a Pastor working with Wesley College as a school chaplain.
Who can be a Pastor?
The Uniting Church in Australia recognises a number of different ministries and the people who are called to those ministries. The Ministry of Pastor is exercised by a lay ministry worker and is site or location specific. In other words, people serves as Pastors only while employed as Pastors. It is not an ongoing ministry designation, although people may serve as Pastors more than once.
Minister of the Word and Ministry of Deacon are the two ordained ministries within the church. The church also recognises that not everyone is called to ordained ministry and hence the Ministry of Pastor was developed, particularly for non-ordained or lay ministry workers who bring particular gifts and skills to the ministry and mission of the church.
A Pastor ministry position can be a recognised ministry Placement, a Non-Placement, or a volunteer position, but must be approved by the Presbytery Pastoral Relations Committee (PRC).
Applicants should have been confirmed member or member in association with the Church for a period of twelve months prior to appointment.
What does a Pastor do?
For a ministry position to be considered suitable to be recognised as a Ministry of Pastor position at least one of the following 4 criteria must be present (Reg 2.2.2(a)):
- Teaching the beliefs and practices of the church: and/or
- Pastoral oversight of members and/or groups operating under the auspices of the church; and/or
- Leadership of worship in congregations or faith communities of the church; and/or
- Evangelism or service beyond a gathered congregation but which is exercised under the auspices of the church.
Pastor roles may be full-time or part-time.
Who creates Pastor positions?
Any congregation, agency, faith community or ministry area wishing to create a position that exercises one or more of the above criteria shall consult with the Presbytery Pastoral Relations Committee to seek approval for the position to be considered suitable to be recognised as appropriate for the Ministry of Pastor (Reg 2.2.2 (c)). If your congregation is considering appointing a lay worker, talk to the Presbytery about whether the role fits the ministry of Pastor.
How are Pastors appointed?
Before a person is appointed to a paid position which involves the exercising of any of the above criteria, the Presbytery PRC must be consulted (Reg 2.2.2 (b)).
Pastors are appointed through a selection process, as with any employment. There will usually be a selection group or committee from the appointing body along with a presbytery repesentative.
Any person considered for a Ministry of Pastor position must demonstrate the required core competencies as well as a number of general competencies relevant to their role. Core competencies related to understanding the Uniting Church and to the Code of Ethics for ministry agents. General competencies are about what you need to know and do for your particular pastor role. These competencies will be assessed by the Presbytery’s Ministry of Pastor Team prior to appointment.
Pastors are commissioned by the Presbytery at the commencement of their position and the Presbytery will be part of the release of ties when the position concludes.
Any person commissioned into a ministry position suitable for the Ministry of Pastor will become a member of Presbytery and come under the oversight of the Presbytery.
They will be required to undertake Code of Ethics refresher training annually. This usually consists of a half day of training, twice a year.
All ministry agents in the Uniting Church, including Pastors are required to have a professional supervisor with whom they meet regularly.
Pastors are also expected to undertake ongoing ministry formation activities and to undertake continuing education.
To speak with someone about the ministry of Pastor, contact the Presbytery secretary.