The Standing Committee of Presbytery co-ordinates the work of the Presbytery in between meetings of the full Presbytery-in-Council. It meets on 2nd Tuesday of each month to make decisions for the Presbytery and guide the work of the Presbytery Ministers, committees and members.

Read Presbytery Annual Report 2022

Our current members of the Standing Committee are:

Chair – David Higham
Deputy Chair – Joy Blamires
Treasurer – Jeff Gardner
Secretary – Anne Kim
Mission and Leadership Development Committee Convenor – Ennis Macleod
Pastoral Relations Committee Convenor – Cameron McAdam
Property Committee Convenor – Gavin Faichney
Elected Member – Riak Kiir
Co-opted Member – Gavin Bartholomeusz
Presbytery Minister Team Leader – Jay Robinson

Presbytery Ministers Anneke Oppewal and Robin Yang also attend meetings.


David Higham, Presbytery Chairperson has been a member of the UCA since Dec 2012, when he and his wife Val, migrated to Australia to join their family. A native of Lancashire. He has been a member of the Methodist Church in the UK since 1965. David was Circuit Steward for a rural Methodist Circuit in Cumbria in the North of England, and started training as a local preacher there.

David and Val have moved around a little since migrating, being involved with Croxton, Croydon, Croydon North, Berwick, and Seaford Uniting Churches over the past 11 years. David also works part-time as a Pastor at Seaford UC, where he has been in Ministry since January 2020. He is authorized to preside in the Sacraments, and is an Accredited Lay Preacher. David has also served on a number of Victas Synod committees. David has been a member of the Presbytery since June 2016 and has worked with a variety of committees since then. He served as part-time Supply Presbytery Minister for the whole of 2023. He was elected as Deputy Chair in March 2023, elected as Chair in November 2023 and was commissioned as Chair on 31 January 2024.

David worked for the Royal Mail in the UK, for 35 years, starting off as a clerk and working his way up through various management positions in different cities and in regional headquarters, before retiring as an Area Manager for Cumbria.

Joy Blamires, Presbytery Deputy Chair has been a part of the Uniting Church from its inception having been a member of the Methodist church at the time of the vote on Church Union. She has had long-term involvement in three Parishes within the Uniting Church prior to her ordination in 2020.

Joy has been a Lay Preacher since 1976, filled a variety of roles at a local church level including Secretary and co-chairperson of Church Council. She has a passion for life long Christian education and discipleship initiatives expressed through leadership of study groups and have had long term involvement in ministry to children and families. She participated in the past two Synods and is a member of the Mission, Leadership and Development Committee of this Presbytery. She was appointed as the Deputy Chair November 2023.

Joy is currently the Minister at St Mark’s Mornington and enjoying the process of gaining a greater understanding of the ministry and missional activities and possibilities on the Mornington Peninsula. S

Jef Gardner

Jeff Gardner, Presbytery Treasurer
, is a member of Coatesville Uniting Church, and has had a career in information technology. As a youngster Jeff was a member of the East Bentleigh Presbyterian Church which, following a hiatus during my teenage years, he returned to after his marriage. Following Union in 1983 Jeff became a member of Coatesville Uniting Church and continues to worship there today. He is a member of the Church’s Community Care team, which provides assistance to those in the community who are in need. He has also been the congregation’s Presbytery Rep for the last few years. He became the church Treasurer and a member of the Church Council in 2003. In 2013 he volunteered as a member of the Presbytery Finance Committee, and in 2017 filled in as Presbytery Minister Administration for several months, during the PMA’s long-service leave. He has been a member of several Synod lead working groups around Data Warehouse and Online Surveys. He became Presbytery Treasurer in 2018.

The Treasurer’s responsibilities include being a member of the Finance Committee and its representative on Presbytery Standing Committee (PSC)In conjunction with the Finance Committee:
• Advise on all finance matters pertaining to the Presbytery
• Advise and support congregation/parish treasurers in performance of their duties
• Administration of the Presbytery’s funds including Interest Only Mission Fund (IOMF), Barbara Barrett Memorial Fund
• Liaise with Property Committee on spending on Presbytery Manse maintenance
• Establish the annual budget for Presbytery operations
• Provide regular financial reports to PSC regarding the state of the Presbytery finances and spending against budget.
• Establish congregation/parish Mission & Service contributions and assisting Synod in seeing these budgets are met
• Reviewing a congregations 5-year financial plan and making recommendations to PRC prior to the approval of a placement

Cameron McAdam, Chair of the Pastoral Relations Committee, has been a Minister of the Word since 2005 serving in Camperdown and Mt Eliza. Part of Uniting Church all his life. He has experience leading the Presbytery as deputy and acting chairperson. Cam has been a member of a PRC and other presbytery committees in 3 presbyteries, along with key synod committees. Cam has a strong commitment to being a good colleague and concern for the pastoral wellbeing of colleagues and key leaders.

The Pastoral Relations Committee (PRC) has a central role in facilitating the functioning of placements in the Presbytery for those placements and the ministry agents who work in them. While much of its work is procedural and regulations based, its focus is firmly on the ‘Relations’ element of the title. The Chairperson has the role of coordinating the work of the PRC and liaising with the Presbytery Minister team, chairing meetings and representing the PRC on Standing Committee and at Presbytery Meetings. The role requires a knowledge of Placements processes; familiarity with the regulations; an understanding of the roles and responsibilities of the Presbytery Minister team; awareness of the skills of the members of the PRC
along with a willingness to call on these; sensitivity and discernment in dealing with situations of conflict or difficulty; an appreciation of the work of other committees of the Presbytery; a commitment to confidentiality and a love for the church across the Presbytery.

Ennis Macleod, Chair of the Mission Leadership Development Committee, is a member of St Leonard’s Uniting Church, Brighton Beach. She has been a member of the UCA since 2001, participating actively in churches on the Gold Coast, in Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne. She worked at Uniting Theological College (UTC) in Parramatta North in supporting theological students, producing resources for lay education programs for the NSW/ACT Synod as well as an advocacy program for Uniting. Ennis completed a Graduate Diploma in Theology at UTC, and a Graduate Certificate in Divinity at Pilgrim. Her minor thesis was on the Holy Spirit in the Basis of Union. Ennis’ vision is to provide opportunities specifically aimed at fostering lay leadership in PPEP. Ennis supports the PM-Church Development, and the continuing education, assessment and formation of lay pastors, preachers and worship leaders. As chair she works with PRC to provide support for and education of those called to the ministry of pastor in PPE.

Gavin Faichney

Gavin Faichney, Chair of the Property Committee, is a member of St Luke’s Uniting Church, and has had a career in education. Gavin Faichney has been a member of the Uniting Church i Australia since its inception, worshiping first at Glen Iris Uniting Church and from 1980 onwards at St Luke’s Uniting Church, Mt Waverley. He was a member of the Maroondah Presbytery prior to the Presbytery amalgamations and since 2006 has been a member of the Port Phillip East Presbytery. He has served as a member of the Assembly of the Uniting Church and on several Of the VicTas Synods as well as the VicTas Synod Standing Committee (2008 – 2014 and several ecumenical committees, both state and national including as a UC representative on the Victorian Council of Churches executive.

Working at Church, Presbytery and Synod levels with regard to church property responsibilities, maintenance procedures and implementation strategies, Gavin has developed an experienced understanding of the property responsibilities and roles for each of these councils. The regard for stewardship and utilization of property assets for which a congregation has ‘responsible body status’ to meet with Missional aspirations in and for the local community and the wider church, is a vital role for congregations to undertake. With his knowledge and understandings of these roles and responsibilities Gavin is able to clarify and assist both Presbytery Standing Committee and Church Councils in their decisions relating to the
missional use of church property.

Riak Kiir, member of Standing Committee joined Pakenham Uniting Church Congregation in March 2015 as a member and participate in church youth activities. In July 2016 he was nominated and offered a position of community development worker part time and automatically became a member of the Church council. His role is to assist the church council and ministry team to plan for ministry and mission with children, young people and their families in Sudanese’s and south Sudanese community in the region, to provide pastoral support to Sudanese families and their young people. Work with the congregation and other faith communities to help Sudanese families express and develop their faith and practice and to engage with community agencies, schools and the shire council. Also, he serves as congregational Elder responsible for a group. Riak believes that he has the capacity and ability to share ideas with people as it’s his devotion field, teaching the beliefs and practices of the Church, doing pastoral oversight of members and groups operating under the auspices of the Church. His capacity also lies in leadership of worship in congregations or faith communities of the Church, in assisting south Sudanese worship in the afternoon within the region mission area, engaging with interfaith within region and exchanging positive ideas about peaceful living in the community. He also enjoy supporting families and their children to be involved in child.



Gavin Bartholomeusz, member of Standing Committee is a member of Endeavour Hills Uniting Church and has been its Presbytery Representative since 2006. In addition, he is responsible for the Church’s weekly notices and paper Order of Serve. Gavin is a retired ESL / English Teacher who has taught adult migrants, secondary students and young adult international students at Tafes, secondary schools and universities around Melbourne. Gavin’s hobbies are table tennis, tennis, bushwalking and reading. His favourite author is Gabriel Garcia Marquez and he is interested in crime fiction.