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The National Council of Churches

- Updated October 1st 2014 Churches Working Together

The National Council of Churches in Australia gathers together in pilgrimage those Churches
and Christian communities which confess the Lord Jesus Christ as God and Saviour according to
the Scriptures and commit themselves to deepen their relationship with each other in order to
express more visibly the unity willed by Christ for his Church, and to work together towards the
fulfilment of their mission of common witness, proclamation and service, to the glory of the one
God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The National Council of Churches in Australia is an ecumenical council of member Australian
Christian Churches.

The Ecumenical Movement in Australia

The modern ecumenical movement began to take shape as the 19th century drew to a close.
Initiatives among students and between Church mission agencies led the way. This country saw
the formation of the Australian Student Christian Movement (1896) and the National Missionary
Council (1926).
Out of the devastation of World War II sprang the Australian Committee for the World Council of
Churches (1946). This developed into the Australian Council of Churches which, in 1994, gave
way to the National Council of Churches in Australia.
The movement for Christian unity in this country was, initially, an Anglican and Protestant affair.
Eastern and Oriental Orthodox Churches came in, in strength, during the 1960s and 70s. For
Catholics, the 2nd Vatican Council opened up fresh possibilities for relationships with other
Churches, and the transition to the National Council of Churches in Australia (1994) saw the
Catholic Church become a full participant in Australia's national ecumenical body.
The NCCA is its nineteen member Churches in their commitment each to the others and all to
the world for which Christ died. It works in collaboration with state ecumenical councils around
Australia. It is an associate council of the World Council of Churches, a member of the Christian
Conference of Asia and a partner of other national ecumenical bodies throughout the world.

Member Churches
Member Church

Head of Church

Anglican Church of Australia

Archbishop Philip Freire

Antiochian Orthodox Church

Archbishop Paul Saliba

Armenian Apostolic Church

Bishop Haigazoun Najarian

Assyrian Church of the East

Archbishop Mar Meelis Zaia

Chinese Methodist Church in Australia

Bishop James Kwang

Churches of Christ in Australia

Rev Janet Woodlock

Congregational Federation of Australia

Dr Joe B. Goodall

Coptic Orthodox Church

Diocese of Sydney & affiliated Regions
Diocese of Melbourne

Bishop Daniel
Bishop Suriel

Greek Orthodox Church

Archbishop Stylianos

Indian Orthodox Church

Bishop Yuhanon Mar Diascorus

Lutheran Church of Australia

Revd John Henderson

Mar Thoma Church

Bishop Joseph Mar Barnabas

Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)

Julian Robertson

Roman Catholic Church

Archbishop Denis Hart

Romanian Orthodox Church

Romanian Patriarchate
Australian Churches

Bishop Mihail

The Salvation Army

Commissioner Floyd Tidd &

Commissioner James Condon

Serbian Orthodox Church

Bishop Irinej

Syrian Orthodox Church

Archbishop Mor Malatius Malki Malki

Uniting Church in Australia

Rev Dr Andrew Dutney

How We Work
The National Council of Churches in Australia is a national organisation that works in partnership
with state ecumenical councils around Australia.
Forum and Executive
While the National Forum of the Council meets every three years, ongoing oversight of the
Council is provided by the Executive, which is made up of the heads of national churches, their
appointed members, and some elected directly by the Forum.
The central administrative body of the NCCA is the General Secretariat, headed by the General
Secretary. Internally there is a Finance and Administration department, which handles the needs
of the whole organisation. There is also a Finance Committee that oversees the finances of the
entire organisation.
The NCCA works through a number of Commissions, Networks, and Programs. These constitute
the 'departments' of the NCCA and order its workplan.
National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission
The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Ecumenical Commission works ecumenically
among Australian churches and wider society to advance indigenous rights and help the
churches understand the implications of their history and their current policies and actions. It has
a staff of two, headed by the Executive Secretary. With the NATSIECs guidance, the churches
are working together for a fair deal for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, and for
the healing of our nation.
Act for Peace (Christian World Service)
The largest Commission of the NCCA is Christian World Service, headed by the Executive
Director. Christian World Service trades as Act for Peace. It operates as an NGO in the overseas
aid sector on behalf of member Churches. Units within CWS are International
Programmes, Refugees and Displaced People and Education & Communication. The main
source of funds for the work of Act for Peace is the Christmas Bowl, which has been operating in
Australia since 1948 in Victoria.
Faith and Unity
The NCCA's Faith and Unity Commission is based in Melbourne, and operates on a small budget
with a small allocation of paid staff time. Much of the work is done by theologians from the
churches who act in a voluntary capacity.
Gender Commission
The Gender Commission was formed in 2002 out of the former network on women's issues. The
Commission operates with the support of the Churches on an entirely voluntary basis.
Social Justice Network
As a network, the SJN operates to bring Churches together on common social justice issues,
and draft material for the Council as a whole. The Network operates with support of the
Churches on an entirely voluntary basis.
Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel
In 2006, the NCCA committed itself to establishing a Australian desk of the Ecumenical
Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). The EAPPI is a program of the
World Council of Churches (WCC). The EAPPI seeks to support local and international efforts to

end the Israeli occupation and bring a resolution to the Israeli-Paestinian conflict with a just peace,
based on international law and relevant United Nations resolutions. We are looking for volunteers
to become Ecumenical Accompaniers in Israel & Palestine.
Growing Churches in the Australia Context
In 2006 the NCCA established a working group to explore a new project that was eventually
called 'Growing Churches in the Australian Context'. The goal is to bring Australian Churches
together for a special consultation on mission. Mission work has a long history in the
Churches. Read about the history of mission work in the NCCA.
Safe Church Project
The Safe Church Project is challenged to confront the reality of sexual abuse by clergy and
church workers. This is a painful and difficult journey. In 2004, 2005,2007 and 2009 national
consultations were held attended by Church workers in the area of sexual abuse and
harrassment. The Safe Church Training Agreement program was initiated following the 2005
consultation. It is a way in which the Churches are able to provide a high standard of trained
staff, recognised across the Churches, to confront the problem.
Interfaith Dialogue
The NCCA is a founding partner in the Australian National Dialogue of Christians, Muslims and
Jews (ANDCMJ). The Dialogue was officially 'launched' in March 2003 after 12 months of formal
preparation, which was preceded by informal contact and discussions between the NCCA, AFIC
(Australian Federation of Islamic Councils) and ECAJ (Executive Council of Australian Jewry).
Involving Youth
The NCCA is committed to the involvement of youth ecumenically in all of our programs and
activities. It is important for the Christian community that the work of the whole Council is 'youth
friendly'. Since late 2007 there has not been a specific Youth Network. The member Churches of
the Council made a commitment at that time to ensure that Youth are always a part of the work
that we do, including young members on the wide range of committees, commissions, networks
and working groups that continue to do the work of the Council.
Churches' Tax Group
The Churches' Tax Group emerged out of the need for Australian Churches to work together on
issues relating to Australian Taxation Law. Although predominantly composed of representatives
of the larger churches, its work is ecumenical in character and benefits all Australian churches. In
November 2003, by a decision of the NCCA Executive, in consultation with the group, it became
a network of the NCCA.
The NCCA oversees two funds that are available for ecumenical work, the Ronald Wilson
Ecumenical Leadership Fund and the Glenburnie Fund.