Report on the Commission of the PCV General Assembly 2023


Rev Philip Burns, Acting Deputy Clerk

The Commission gathered on Tuesday morning, May 16th, within Assembly Hall, with the Moderator, Rev Peter Phillips, in the chair. The weather outside was cool, but the fellowship inside warm, especially in the prayer meeting before the business of the day. As the Assembly began, it was uplifting to hear voices combining with the singing of the great hymn ‘The God of Abraham praise’ and a brief exposition from Galatians 3:1-6 by Rev Ben Nelson, the Moderator’s Chaplain, and then it was time for business!

New Moderator Designate

One of the highlights of the Commission is the election of the new Moderator Designate for the next Assembly. There was only the one nomination received from the Presbyteries for this position, that being of the Rev Ian Hutton (retired minister). After being elected, Ian addressed the Assembly requesting prayer for him and his wife Ann, that God might give them, health, strength and grace to complete the busy year ahead faithfully and well. The Moderator led the court in prayer for Ian and Ann.

Great steps forward for the PCV Archives

Following the report from the Convener of the Ad Hoc Committee on the PCV Archives, Rev John Wilson, outlining a wonderful provision of God for the immediate short term and the long-term future, the Assembly agreed to proceed with the leasing of the property adjacent to the Presbyterian Theological College at 690 Elgar Road, Box Hill North, formerly known as the ‘Christian Service Centre’. This many roomed, more-than-suitable property will now become the home of the PCV Archives, the PTC library, and God willing, will become a centre for Christian ministry through MECCC counselling services (who will also become a ‘tenant’ of the property). This is a wonderful opportunity for the PCV and prayer is requested that the site may be developed (even purchased?) in accord with God’s plans for us.

Finances, finances…

One of the main subjects that the Commission must deal with is money, especially the setting of the GMP program for the coming year as well as the stipend, super and travel rates, and budgets for all the Assembly Committees. These matters are presented through Board of Investment and Finance (Chairman is Rev Barry Oakes) and the Maintenance of the Ministry Committee, (Convener is Elder Colin Morrow). There is a lot of work to be done in relation to the PCV’s finances and much of the day-to-day responsibility for this fall to the General Manager, Michael Ellison and the PCV Office staff. It would be good to give thanks to God for their faithful service and pray that, as a denomination, we may always be faithful stewards of God’s gifts to us. 

New Clerks

The report of the Clerkship Committee, put forward by the Convener, Elder Colin Morrow, requested that the Assembly note the appointments of Rev Philip Burns as Acting Deputy Clerk, and Rev Cameron Garrett as Acting Assistant to the Clerks. As this was his first Assembly in that role, Cameron made the ‘declaration of faithful service’ as is required. The Assembly noted these appointments but also thanked and prayed for Philip and Cam in their respective roles.

Sale of properties

The Commission received and acted upon petitions from the Presbytery of Western Victoria regarding the proposed sale of a property held in Scotsburn, and from the Presbytery of South West Victoria regarding the sale of the property of the now deceased congregation of Woodford. In both these instances, the Assembly responded favourably to the petitioners and allocated the proceeds of the sale accordingly, with a large percentage of each to be put towards church planting and development within these Presbyteries.

Lecturer still needed at PTC

Sadly, the proposed appointment of a new lecturer for our Theological College did not eventuate. Please pray that the Lord would provide this need in His time and remember the vital work of our College and the staff.

All in all, it was a pleasing day, and so we give thanks to God for His favour and ask that He might continue to lead us and bless us in His ways, knowing that without this, our work is in vain (Psalm 127:1).