Church-related Welfare Agencies in Australia
Contracting and Institutional Secularisation
Keywords:Contracting, church-related agencies, institutional secularisation, Australia
The shift by government to contracting of social welfare and human services in Australia in the 1990s raised questions about the possible impacts of not-for-profit agencies becoming financially dependent on government. It was suggested that this move would result in institutional secularisation evidenced in detachment by church-related agencies from their founding bodies and distinctive accounts of mission. This article reports on research that maps the extent of financial dependence of church-related welfare agencies on government and the degree of their (dis)connection to the churches and the Christian tradition after nearly two decades of contracting. The evidence suggests that there is not a necessary and automatic connection between high financial dependence on government and secularisation of church-related agencies. Denominational governance, agency size, along with choices by agency leadership appear to buffer to varying degrees these impacts of contracting.
Asad, Talal 2001 Reading a Modern Classic: W. C. Smith’s ‘The Meaning and End of Religion’. History of Religions 40(3): 205–222. https://doi.org/10.1086/463633
2003 Formations of the Secular: Christianity, Islam, Modernity. Stanford University Press, Stanford, CA.
Beresford, Marilyn 2013 Uniting the Mission: The Story of the Merger and Creation of UnitingCare West. UnitingCare West, Perth.
Bottomley, John 2008 In, But Not of the World: A Report on Issues to Strengthen the Faith and Vocation of UnitingCare Chief Executive Officers, Boards and Agencies. UnitingCare Victoria and Tasmania, and Commission for Mission, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania, Melbourne.
Bretherton, Luke 2012 Coming to Judgement: Methodological Reflections on the Relationship between Ecclesiology, Ethnography and Political Theory. Modern Theology 28(2): 167–96. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0025.2012.01736.x
Burnham, Peter, Karin Gilland Lutz, Wyn Grant and Zig Layton-Henry 2008 Research Methods in Politics. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke.
Chambers, Charles 2000 Coming Together: A Dynamic Mission: The Events that Shaped Mission Australia. Mission Australia, Sydney.
Chapman, Rachel 2009 Faith and the Voluntary Sector: Distinctive yet Similar? In Faith in the Public Realm: Controversies, Policies and Practice, edited by A. Dinham, R. Furbey and V. Lowndes, 203–236. Policy Press, Bristol.
Chaves, Mark 1993 Denominations as Dual Structures: An Organizational Analysis. Sociology of Religion 54(2): 147–69. https://doi.org/10.2307/3712137
1994 Secularization as Declining Religious Authority. Social Forces 72(3): 749–74. https://doi.org/10.1093/sf/72.3.749
Clarke, Lyn 2016 Making a Difference: The Legends and Landmarks of Baptcare. Melbourne Books, Melbourne.
Cleary, Ray 2012 Reclaiming Welfare for Mission: Choices for Churches. Barton Books, Canberra.
Cnaan, Ram A., and Stephanie C. Boddie 2002 The Invisible Caring Hand: American Congregations and the Provision of Welfare. New York University Press, New York.
Cnaan, Ram A. with Robert J. Wineburg and Stephanie C. Boddie 1999 The Newer Deal: Social Work and Religion in Partnership. Columbia University Press, New York.
2006 Setting the Context: Assessing the Effectiveness of Faith-Based Social Services. In Faith-Based Social Services: Measures, Assessment and Effectiveness, edited by S. C. Boddie and R. A. Cnaan, 5–18. The Haworth Pastoral Press, Binghampton.
Considine, Mark 2000 Competition, Quasi-markets and the New Welfare State: Reflections on the Challenges Awaiting Clients, Governments and Welfare Professionals. In Contemporary Perspectives on Social Work and the Human Services: Challenges and Changes, edited by P. Smyth O’Connor and J. Warburton, 73–83. Pearson Education Australia, French’s Forest.
Considine, Mark, Jenny Lewis and Siobhan O’Sullivan 2008 Activating States: Transforming the Delivery of ‘Welfare to Work’ Services in Australia, the UK and the Netherlands—Australia Report Back to Industry Partners. School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne.
2011 Quasi-Markets and Service Delivery Flexibility Following a Decade of Employment Assistance Reform in Australia. Journal of Social Policy 40(4): 811–33. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0047279411000213
Considine, Mark, Siobhan O’Sullivan and Phuc Nguyen 2014 Mission Drift? The Third Sector and the Pressure to be Businesslike: Evidence from Job Services Australia. Third Sector Review 20(1): 87–108.
Cormode, D. Scott 1998 Does Institutional Isomorphism Imply Secularization? Churches and Secular Voluntary Organizations in the Turn-of-the-Century City. In Sacred Companies: Organizational Aspects of Religion and Religious Aspects of Organizations, edited by N. J. Demerath III, P. D. Hall, T. Schmitt and R. H. Williams, 116–30. Oxford University Press, New York.
Crisp, Beth R. 2010 Catholic Agencies: Making a Distinct Contribution to Australian Social Welfare Provision. Australasian Catholic Record 87(4): 440–51.
2015 Challenges to Organizational Spirituality as a Consequence of State Funding. Journal for the Study of Spirituality 5(1): 47–59. https://doi.org/10.1179/2044024315Z.00000000040
Crofts, Ken 2009 Perceptions of Accountability in Australian Faith-based Social-Welfare Organisations. Third Sector Review 15(2): 37–54.
Dickey, Brian 2003 Giving a Hand: A History of Anglicare since 1860. Anglicare SA, North Adelaide.
Dickey, Brian, and Elaine Martin 1999 Building Community: A History of the Port Adelaide Central Mission. Port Adelaide Wesley Centre, Adelaide.
DiMaggio, Paul J., and Walter W. Powell 1991 The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields. In The New Institutionalism in Organizational Theory, edited by W. W. Powell and P. J. DiMaggio, 63–82. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.
Ebaugh, Helen Rose, Paula Pipes, Janet Saltzman Chafetz and Martha Daniels
2003 Where’s the Religion? Distinguishing Faith-based from Secular Social Service Agencies. Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 42(3): 411–26. https://doi.org/10.1111/1468-5906.00191
Edwards, Julie 2014 Sharing the Mission with the Whole Organisation. In Learning and Leading: The Impact of Catholic Identity and Mission, edited by G. McMullen and J. Warhurst, 47–62. Connor Court Publishing, Ballarat.
2016 Head and Heart Together for Action. In Review, Reimagine, Renew: Mission Making a Difference in a Changing World, edited by G. McMullen, P. Scales and D. Fitzgerald, 71–79. Connor Court Publishing, Redland Bay.
Fitzgerald, Timothy 1997 A Critique of ‘Religion’ as a Cross-Cultural Category. Method & Theory in the Study of Religion 9(2): 91–110. https://doi.org/10.1163/157006897X00070
2011 Religion and Politics in International Relations: The Modern Myth. Continuum International Publishing Group, London.
Fountain, Philip 2012 The Myth of Religious NGOs. International Development Policy: Religion and Development, The Graduate Institute, Geneva.
2013 Toward a Post-Secular Anthropology. Australian Journal of Anthropology 24(3): 310–28. https://doi.org/10.1111/taja.12053
Gallet, Wilma 2016 Christian Mission or an Unholy Alliance: The Changing Role of Church-related Organisations in Contracted Service Delivery. PhD dissertation, University of Melbourne, Melbourne.
Goh, Robbie B. H. 2011 Market Theory, Market Theology: The Business of the Church in the City. In Postsecular Cities: Space, Theory and Practice, edited by J. Beaumont and C. Baker, 50–68. Continuum International Publishing Group, London.
Holden, Colin, and Richard Trembath 2008 Divine Discontent: The Brotherhood of St Laurence: A History. Australian Scholarly Publishing, North Melbourne.
Howe, Renate, and Shirley Swain 1993 The Challenge of the City: The Centenary History of Wesley Central Mission. Hynland House Publishing, Melbourne.
Hynd, Douglas 2014 What’s in a Name? Social Welfare Agencies Engagement with Government beyond ‘Religious’, ‘Faith-based’ and ‘Secular’ Terminology. Third Sector Review 20(1): 163–84.
2016 Does Theology Matter? How Church-related Agencies Became (Or Not) an Extension of the State (Unpublished conference paper). Recovering Our Soul Conference, Melbourne.
2017a Church-related Social Welfare Agencies in Australia: A Historical Perspective on their Development and their Relationship to the State. Zadok Papers (S 221): 10–16.
2017b On (Not) ‘Becoming an Extension of the State’ while ‘Seeking the Flourishing of the City’: A Theologically-informed Inquiry into the Impact on ‘Church-related’ Agencies of Contracting with Government to Provide Social Welfare and Human Services in Australia, 1996–2013. PhD dissertation, Australian Catholic University, Canberra.
Jeavons, Thomas H. 1994 When the Bottom Line is Faithfulness: Management of Christian Service Organisations. Indiana University Press, Bloomington.
Judd, Stephen, Anne Robinson and Felicity Errington 2012 Driven by Purpose: Charities that Make the Difference. Hammond Press, Sydney.
Knight, Penny, and David Gilchrist 2015 Australia’s Faith-based Charities: A Study Supplementing the Australian Charities 2013 Report. Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission, Melbourne.
Lake, Meredith 2013 Faith in Action: Hammond Care. UNSW Press, Sydney.
2018 The Bible in Australia: A Cultural History. UNSW Press, Sydney.
Martin, Craig 2015 Theses on the Critique of ‘Religion’. Critical Research on Religion 3(3): 297–302. https://doi.org/10.1177/2050303215613147
McDonald, Peter 2019 Market-driven Welfare Successes: The Contribution of Neoliberalism to Social Cohesion and Care for the Poor and the Earth. Uniting Church Studies 22(1): 51–60.
Melville, Rose, and Catherine McDonald 2006 ‘Faith-based’ Organisations and Contemporary Welfare. Australian Journal of Social Issues 41(1): 69–85.
Monsma, S. V., and J. C. Soper 2009 The Challenge of Pluralism: Church and State in Five Democracies. Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, MD.
Murphy, John 2006 The Other Welfare State: Non-Government Agencies and the Mixed Economy of Welfare in Australia. History Australia 3(2): 44.41–44.15. https://doi.org/10.2104/ha060044
2007 Suffering, Vice and Justice: Religious Imaginaries and Welfare Agencies in Post-War Melbourne. Journal of Religious History 31(3): 287–304. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9809.2007.00549.x
2011 Church and State in the History of Australian Welfare. In Church and State in Old and New World, edited by J. Gascoigne and H. M. Carey, 261–85. Brill, Leiden.
Nevile, Ann 1999 Competing Interests: Competition in the Welfare Sector. The Australia Institute and Anglicare Australia, Canberra.
Nowland-Foreman, Garth 1997 Can Voluntary Organisations Survive the Bear Hug of Government Funding under a Contracting Regime? A View from Aotearoa/New Zealand. Third Sector Review 3: 5–39.
1998 Purchase-of-Service Contracting, Voluntary Organizations, and Civil Society: Dissecting the Goose that Lays the Golden Eggs? American Behavioural Scientist 42(1): 108–123. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764298042001009
Oslington, Paul 2015 Sacred and Secular in Australian Social Services. Pacifica: Australasian Theological Studies 28(1): 79–93. https://doi.org/10.1177/1030570X15619782
Parker, Lee D. 2001 Reactive Planning in a Christian Bureaucracy. Management Accounting Research 12(3): 321–56. https://doi.org/10.1006/mare.2001.0165
2002 Budgetary Incrementalism in a Christian Bureaucracy. Management Accounting Research 13(1): 71–100. https://doi.org/10.1006/mare.2001.0171
Smith, Stephen Rathgeb, and Kirsten A. Gronberg 2006 Scope and Theory of Government-Nonprofit Relation. In The Non-Profit Sector: A Research Handbook, edited by W. W. Powell and R. Steinberg, 221–41. Yale University Press, New Haven, CT.
Smith, Stephen Rathgeb, and Michael R. Sosin 2001 The Varieties of Faith-Related Agencies. Public Administration Review 61(6): 651–70. https://doi.org/10.1111/0033-3352.00137
Swain, Shirlee 2005 Do You Want Religion With That? Welfare History in a Secular Age. History Australia 2(3): 79.71–79.78. https://doi.org/10.2104/ha050079
2009 Welfare Work and Charitable Organisations. In The Encyclopedia of Religion in Australia, edited by James Jupp, 685–94. Cambridge University Press, Melbourne.
Taylor, Doug 2019 Neoliberalism, Adapt, Reform, or Resist: A Perspective from Church-Related Community Services. Uniting Church Studies 22(1): 21–34.
Vanderwoerd, James R. 2004 How Faith-Based Social Service Organizations Manage Secular Pressures Associated with Government Funding. Nonprofit Management & Leadership 14(3): 239–62. https://doi.org/10.1002/nml.33
Wallace, Howard, and John Bottomley 2012 Hope for Justice and Reconciliation: Isaiah’s Voice in an Australian Context. United Academic Press, Melbourne.
How to Cite
Equinox Publishing Ltd.