Synod in Past Years
Proposal to Change the Parish of Newtown to a Provisional Parish
(A report from the South Sydney Regional Council.)
1. A proposal was made by the churchwardens of St Stephen's Church Newtown under clause 4(1)(c)(iii) of the Parishes Ordinance 1979 (the "Ordinance").
2. A meeting of the South Sydney Regional Council on 17 May 2000 considered the proposal under clause 5 of the Ordinance.
3. All the procedural requirements under clause 4 of the Ordinance have been satisfied.
4. The proposal is to change the parish of Newtown (the "Parish") to a provisional parish.
5. On 5 August 1999 the Parish was informed that it had failed the local revenue test for 1998. Its local revenues were $41,323 against the threshold of $46,396. During 1999 the Parish encountered further difficulties failing to pay its parish recovery costs on time and ending the year $3,414 in arrears. In February 2000 the parish council reluctantly resolved to reduce the rector's stipend and allowances to 50% of the diocesan recommended minimum. The churchwardens had been advised during 1999 to seek provisional parish status and apply for a grant from the regional council. New churchwardens were elected at the annual vestry meeting held in March 2000. They now wish to initiate the proposal to seek provisional parish status.
6. The population of the parish is 8975 persons, of which 1463 claim affiliation to the Anglican Church of Australia. While this is 16.8% of the total population, it should be noted that twice this number profess no religion. The population is on the whole younger with a high percentage of 20-39 year olds. A high percentage has never married (58.4%) and rental figures are also significant (48.8%). Furthermore some 22% derive from a non-english speaking background but no particular group predominates. It is a mobile secular inner city mission environment facing increasing gentrification.
7. Ministry has been a struggle for St Stephen's over the past 20 years. Its existence has been precarious with a relatively small number of people investing considerable efforts to maintain the life and witness of the congregation and maintain heritage buildings. Successive ministers have left their distinctive impression with St Stephen's offering a home to folk who felt excluded from other parishes. The congregation values liturgical worship and good preaching.
8. It is evident that at this point in its history St Stephen's needs to recognise its prime responsibility for witness in Newtown, Camperdown and Erskineville, and develop strategies for contact, evangelism and pastoral care in a socioeconomically changing community.
9. The number of regular worshippers has declined over the past decade. The core adult membership is about 51 persons.
10. Details of property held by the Property Trust upon trust for Newtown are -
12. The receipts and payments over the past 4 years were -
13. The assets and liabilities at 31 December 1998 were -
14. There are no debts on the property.
16. The South Sydney Regional Council recommends that the parish of Newtown become a provisional parish from 17 May 2000.
For and on behalf of the South Sydney Regional Council.
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