Following a review of the finances of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, the Bishops recently implemented changes to the Conference’s structure that will affect some offices, some staff and some of the Councils that advise the Bishops on specific parts of Church life.
Redundancies and the cessation or amalgamation of Councils have regrettably affected all parts of the Bishops Conference.
One outcome is the broader mandate of the National Centre for Evangelisation, which will take on the work previously carried out by a number of offices: the Office for Lay Pastoral Ministry, the Office for the Participation of Women and the Office for Youth.
The associated Councils will cease, with a new Council for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry established to represent the various parts of the Church that fall under that Council’s mandate.
At a recent gathering of the chairs of Councils, including the Council for Australian Catholic Women, priorities for each Council were outlined and documented. Even where Councils will cease their work on December 31, 2019, these priorities will influence the ongoing work of the relevant Commissions, Councils and related offices, with support from other Bishops Conference offices and departments.
The work, programs and projects of the Office for the Participation of Women, including the Leadership for Mission program, will continue. National networks working to support and encourage women will also be critical in keeping women at the centre of the life of the Church.
As a result of the structural changes, some roles were made redundant, while new roles were created within the National Centre for Evangelisation – with existing staff invited to apply for those new positions.
Andrea Dean, who has been a significant contributor to the life of the Church and the Conference, including as director of the Office for the Participation of Women and the Office for Lay Pastoral Ministry, has chosen to pursue other opportunities.
The Bishops Conference thanks Andrea for her service to the Church in Australia. That service will undoubtedly continue, albeit in a different capacity. The Conference wishes Andrea every success.