12th Assembly 2009

Reception of Ministers Q&A

1. Do you have appropriate multicultural representatives on the Reception of Ministers Committee?

Yes, we do. They are Rev. Apwee Ting, a migrant from Indonesia, who trained for the ministry in Melbourne, and Rev. Charity Majiza, a migrant from South Africa, who has herself been through the process of reception.

2. What criteria are used to access the validity of Ordination?

In general, a person applying for acceptance as a Minister of the Word needs to have been ordained to a ministry of Word and Sacraments in the Church Catholic. For instance, a person commissioned as a Salvation Army Officer would still need to be ordained by the Uniting Church, as the Salvation Army does not practice the sacraments.

A person seeking acceptance as a Uniting Church Deacon needs to have been ordained to a diaconal or similar ministry in their present denomination.

It is important that the wider church authorise and conduct the ordination (a presbytery, diocese, or other wider body), or at least are involved in the laying-on of hands. The most common reason why some minister's ordination is not accepted is because it was simply ordination by a local congregation.

3. How does the Reception of Ministers Committee assess theological qualifications where a university/college pathway is not the norm to ordination?

It makes no difference. We require a certified transcript of all studies relevant to the person's theological education, and we seek independent comment on the standing of the institution.

The compare the content of the study with the study the Uniting Church expects of a candidate, and prescribe subjects in areas that are missing.

4. When you check "good standing" do you check "any unfinished business"?

Yes we do. It is the responsibility of the General Secretary (or Associate General Secretary) of the Synod to obtain a letter from the equivalent person in the minister's present church, affirming that the applicant is a minister in good standing. If there is a complaint of misconduct that is undecided, we would not proceed with the application.

However, there is a risk in this area, as we cannot control what the other denomination chooses to tell us.

5. Prefer taking longer than rushing, but not 5 or 6 years?

We agree. Normally we can give a considered ruling in a two-month time frame.  In some cases delays occur, usually for one of three reasons:

  • the lack of certified transcripts of studies,
    difficulty in obtaining independent comment on the standing of a university or college, or
    difficulty in obtaining information about the ordination practice of a particular church.


However, if you know somebody who is still awaiting a response from this Committee for over one year, let alone 5 years, please email me and tell me who the person is, and I will look into it.
My email is:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Answers provided by Rev. Dr Douglas Miller, Chairperson Reception of Ministers Committee.