14. MINISTERS, ELDERS, DEACONESSES
AND LAY PREACHERS
Basis of Union Paragraph 14
The Uniting Church, from inception, will seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit to recognise among its members women and men called of God to preach the Gospel, to lead the people in worship, to care for the flock, to share in government and to serve those in need in the world.
To this end:
14. MINISTERS, ELDERS, DEACONS AND LAY PREACHERS
The Uniting Church recognises and accepts as ministers of the Word all who have held such office in any of the uniting Churches, and who, being in good standing in one of those Churches at the time of union, adhere to the Basis of Union. This adherence and acceptance may take place at the time of union or at a later date. Since the Church lives by the power of the Word, it is assured that God, who has never failed to provide witness to that word, will, through Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, call and set apart members of the Church to be ministers of the Word. These will preach the Gospel, administer the sacraments and exercise pastoral care so that all may be equipped for their particular ministries, thus maintaining the apostolic witness to Christ in the Church. Such members will be called Ministers and their setting apart will be known as Ordination.
The Presbytery will ordain by prayer and the laying on of hands in the
presence of a worshipping congregation. In this act of ordination the
Church praises the ascended Christ for conferring gifts upon men and
women. It recognises Christ’s call of the individual to be his minister;
it prays for the enabling power of the Holy Spirit to equip the minister
for that service. By the participation in the act of ordination of those
already ordained, the Church bears witness to God’s faithfulness and
declares the hope by which it lives. In company with other Christians
the Uniting Church will seek for a renewed understanding of the way in which the congregation participates in ordination and of the significance of ordination in the life of the Church
The Uniting Church recognises and accepts as elders or leaders those who at the time of union hold the office of elder, deacon or leader appointed
to exercise spiritual oversight, and who, being in good standing in any of
the uniting Churches at the time of union, adhere to the Basis of Union.
It will seek to recognise in the congregation those endowed by the Spirit
with gifts fitting them for rule and oversight. Such members will be
called Elders or Leaders
The Uniting Church recognises and accepts as deaconesses those who at the time of union are deaconesses in good standing in any of the uniting Churches and who adhere to the Basis of Union. It believes that the Holy Spirit will continue to call women to share in this way in the varied services and witness of the Church, and it will make provision for this. Such members will be called Deaconesses.
The Uniting Church recognises and accepts as lay preachers those who at the time of union are accredited lay preachers (local preachers) in any of the uniting Churches and who adhere to the Basis of Union. It will seek to recognise those endowed with the gift of the Spirit for this task, will provide for their training, and will gladly wait upon that fuller understanding of the obedience of
Christians which should flow from their ministry. Such members will be called Lay Preachers.
In the above sub-paragraphs the phrase “adhere to the Basis of Union” is understood
as willingness to live and work within the faith and unity of the One Holy Catholic
and Apostolic Church as that way is described in this Basis. Such adherence allows for
difference of opinion in matters which do not enter into the substance of the faith.
The Uniting Church recognises that the type and duration of ministries to which women and men are called vary from time to time and place to place, and that in particular it comes into being in a period of reconsideration of traditional forms of the ministry, and of renewed participation of all the people of God in the preaching of the Word, the administration of the sacraments, the building up of the fellowship in mutual love, in commitment to Christ’s mission, and in service of the world for which he died.