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Uniting councils

The Uniting Councils have been revamped as an important contributor to the Uniting for A Common Good strategy of the Uniting Church NSW/ACT. Included here is a summary of the Councils’ role, and the types of people we are seeking to become active contributors.

Statement of purpose

Uniting is responsible for the social justice, community services and chaplaincy work of the Uniting Church in the Synod of NSW & ACT. Uniting Councils help ensure interconnectedness – especially between the Synod, the presbyteries and congregations – in the way the Church serves and empowers communities. They help to enable the best services and support for those in need in NSW and the ACT.

Operating in a community engagement capacity within Uniting, the Councils have a broad remit. Each Council develops its own programs and activities, relating closely to their local needs, and they aim to involve, engage, develop and have an impact. Activities your local Council may be involved in are listed below.


  • Raise awareness of and support Uniting local fundraising campaigns and share ideas about fundraising with other Uniting Councils.
  • Support the enlistment of appropriate volunteers for Uniting, through Uniting Church Congregations and Presbyteries and provide guidance and support to local volunteer programs.
  • Provide active support into the Presbyteries, Congregations and community for Uniting’s new and changed services and initiatives.


  • Be an advocate for local communities and provide a community voice to Uniting by engaging local groups, industry, customers and local governments to seek feedback on the expectations and needs of clients and other local stakeholders.
  • Connect through regular contact with local communities, including local councils, local politicians, volunteer groups, community groups, like-minded advocacy groups, ecumenical groups, chaplains and pastoral care workers particularly in country and remote regions.
  • Be a coordinated local voice for the organisation at large.
  • Be called upon and to be heard during development of service planning.


  • Ensure Uniting and Uniting Church Congregations and Presbyteries remain closely connected (including potentially facilitating joint resource development opportunities and other partnerships) through regular face-to-face meetings and ongoing communication of activities, events and other developments.
  • Uphold the Uniting Church’s values and support chaplaincy and pastoral care staff in the development of pastoral care activities between Uniting and Uniting Church Presbyteries and Congregations.


  • Support Social Justice initiatives.
  • Promote the development of communities, including local Congregations, by determining the allocation of the Innovative Community Grant Fund transparently and accountably.
  • Collaborate with local presbyteries and congregations to innovate, for example, by creating hubs either in separate locations, co-located, purpose built or place-based.

The Uniting Councils are responsible in their geographical boundaries for administering  the Uniting Innovative Community Grant Fund.

Appointed by and reporting to the Uniting Board, the Councils are supported by the Uniting Director of Strategic Engagement and an Administrator. They also work closely with the Community Development Coordinators. This structure is shown below.

Uniting Councils' governance structure

There are eight Uniting Councils in NSW and the ACT.

Council Meeting location
Canberra Region Canberra City
Georges River and Illawarra Unanderra (Wollongong)
Hunter, Central Coast and New England Cardiff (Newcastle)
Macquarie Darling and Riverina Dubbo
North Coast and Far North Coast Goonellabah (Lismore)
Parramatta Nepean Parramatta
Sydney Central Leichhardt
Sydney North Chatswood

Eligibility and selection criteria for Council Members

Applications for membership will be considered against selection criteria to achieve the best balance of skills and expertise in each Uniting Council. Recruitment will be undertaken by each Council and applicants will be interviewed by the relevant Council Chair.

Members may come from both the Uniting Church and the broader community so as to provide diversity and balance in the team.

Eligibility requirements

  • Synod policy states that at least one-third of the appointed members of the Council shall be male and at least one-third shall be female.
  • Selection of members will be guided by the need to ensure balance in relation to genders, culturally and linguistically diverse groups, ages, work backgrounds and experiences.
  • Selection of members will be guided by the need to ensure balance in relation to knowledge of the Uniting service streams.
  • At least 75% of the Council Members shall when possible be current or previously confirmed members or members-in-association of the Uniting Church.
  • Residents, clients, chaplains, pastoral care workers and staff of Uniting are not eligible for appointment as members in the region in which they are located unless specifically approved by the Uniting board.

All eligible candidates must successfully pass a Criminal Record Check and a Working with Children check.

Selection criteria

Given the nature and responsibilities of the Councils, candidates for appointment must have:

  • Affinity with the Uniting Church (preferably) or have a Christian ethos.
  • Capacity to devote necessary time to the Council – which will involve daytime commitments during the week, such as planning days and training activities.
  • Commitment to basic fiduciary requirements, for example, honesty, integrity, avoiding conflict situations, and acting for the common good (not personal power).
  • Capacity to operate as a team player and work collaboratively with others.
  • Strong interest in and sound connections with the local community – local government, service organisations or clubs, volunteer groups.
  • Capacity to act vs direct; willingness to be involved in activities.
  • A demonstrated interest, compassion and (preferably) some knowledge about aged care provision, children and family services, disability care or youth services.
  • A broad vision for service provision, grounded in the compassion and justice of the Christian message.
  • An ability to contribute to the organisation in complex and ambiguous environments.
  • An appreciation and understanding of cultural differences within the community.

Please contact Uniting Council Administration for copy of the Uniting Council's Terms of Reference.

Download the Uniting Council's Membership Application.

Get in touch

Uniting Council Administration

E: council@uniting.org

T: 1800 864 846