Presbyteries will be able to appoint their Chairperson on a full or part-time stipendiary basis and will no longer be constrained by a mandated model for their Presbytery Minister roles.
However, the question of how many full-time ministry positions for each Presbytery will be funded into the future and the broader Presbytery funding model remains unresolved with debate adjourned tonight.
The Presbytery Transition Team’s Facilitation Group has proposed to fund two full-time ministry positions rather than the current model of three positions. It also proposes a new support fund of at least $400,000 per anum to be shared among the presbyteries. It proposes to maintain the Presbytery Pool Fund for all eight Presbyteries and the Rural IOMF for the five rural Presbyteries and Tasmania.
The new fund would be developed in discernment with presbyteries and a distribution model, which builds on the strengths and principles learned from the Rural Ministry Leadership Fund. It will take into account both equity and need.
However, several members remain concerned that the proposed arrangements will leave rural presbyteries significantly underfunded.
One member said any less than three full-time equivalent ministers would mean rural Presbyteries would not be able to carry out their core roles.
Another said the funding cut being proposed was significant.
The Synod was also told that it was “totally inappropriate “ to encourage rural presbyteries to develop alternative sources of income when “there is no pot of gold at the end of our rainbow”.
Presbytery Transition Team Convenor Paul Stephens said the aim of proposal was to provide a funding model which gave certainty and flexibility to Presbyteries.