The Uniting Church and Marriage

On Monday the 30th April, the Uniting Church Assembly Standing Committee released reports and proposals for the upcoming Assembly in July this year. The Assembly is the national body of the Uniting Church with voting members from across Australia, and the standing committee 'stands' in between triennial meetings to bring reports and proposals to the national gatherings.

This year, the Assembly will discuss and vote on the Uniting Church's definition of marriage and the options Ministers and Congregations have if requested to host/conduct a same-gender marriage ceremony. The 60 page report put out on Monday by the standing committee outlines 4 options with one recommended. In short, the recommendation is that the Uniting Church definition of marriage change to being between two people (previously one man and one woman) and that Minister's continue to be able to exercise freedom of choice in whether or not to conduct same gender weddings.

First and foremost, we as a church must grieve with our brothers and sisters in Christ over the mistreatment of many same gender attracted people in the history of the church. We have not always loved our neighbours well and for that we ask God's forgiveness.

Secondly, we recognise the diversity of views in the church and that many times, this is an intensely personal issue. Many of us know same gender attracted people, some of whom wrestle deeply with faith and belonging to the body of Christ. 

However, as a congregation we adhere to the Uniting Church's current view of marriage, that it is between one man and one woman. This is the view of 'PNUEMA' churches, a network of Uniting Churches in WA who hold to an 'evangelical' Christian belief and reading of the scriptures. A national body of evangelical Uniting Churches called the 'Assembly of Confessing Congregations' have released some initial responses to the report on marriage which I encourage you to read here

Over the coming months, I ask you to pray that each member of the Uniting Church Assembly will listen closely to the voice of the Holy Spirit. A change to our position on marriage has significant implications for ecumenical relationships and the life of our movement. I pray that in this time, we would confidently proclaim both grace and truth.

Opportunities to engage in discussion around this topic are planned for the months leading up to and following the national assembly (detail to be confirmed).