The Australian newspaper has published an article today (30 September) on the Uniting Church’s decision on same-gender marriage. Regrettably, the story includes a number of allegations in relation to a congregation in Queensland which are untrue.
At the 15th Assembly in July 2018, the Uniting Church in Australia resolved to recognise two statements of belief on marriage, in order to honour the different, faithfully held perspectives on marriage among its members.
This decision allows ministers and celebrants authorised by the Uniting Church the freedom to conduct or to refuse to conduct same-gender marriages. Uniting Church ministers continue to have the freedom to teach their own faithfully held Christian understanding of marriage.
A particularly concerning allegation contained in the article alleges collusion between regional bodies of the Church. We have utmost confidence in the support provided to the congregation by the regional presbytery. Each application for funding and other requests by the congregation in question have gone through the appropriate formal decision-making process. Any suggestion of collusion, unfairness or double standards is unsubstantiated.
After being contacted in relation to the allegations, a statement was provided to The Australian on behalf of and in consultation with Uniting Church in Australia President Dr Deidre Palmer and Moderator of the Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod, Rev David Baker. A copy of this statement will also be provided to The Australian.
The Uniting Church in Australia is comprised of more than 2000 congregations. Across the Church among our members and congregations, schools and agencies, there is a deep commitment to holding together as a community in Christ, recognising our differences respectfully and with an understanding that we are all faithfully seeking to witness to the Gospel of Christ and Christ’s grace, compassion and hope in our lives and communities.
President of the Uniting Church in Australia, Dr Deidre Palmer
Moderator of the Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod, Rev David Baker
The full statement provided to The Australian is available below.
The Uniting Church in Australia is comprised of more than 2000 congregations.
The Uniting Church is a Church that values being a n inclusive, Christian community. We are committed to creating communities where all people feel safe and everyone can flourish.
In July 2018, the Uniting Church in Australia Assembly resolved to recognise two statements of belief on marriage, in order to honour the different, faithfully held perspectives on marriage among its members.
This decision allows ministers and celebrants authorised by the Uniting Church the freedom to conduct or to refuse to conduct same-gender marriages. Ministers who, in good conscience, are willing to conduct same-gender marriages are able to do so. This does not compromise the rights of those ministers who, in good conscience, cannot conduct same-gender marriages. They can continue to teach their belief that marriage may only be between a man and a woman, and can continue to use a marriage liturgy that reflects that conviction.
At the same time, we expect all our members to respectfully engage with those who may hold different Biblical and theological views to their own, and to show respect to LGBTIQ Uniting Church members, who are full members, exercising a variety of ministries, both ordained and lay within and through the life of the Uniting Church.
All parts of the church are accountable to our governance and regulations and when matters of concern arise in particular congregations, the Uniting Church has systems in place to manage those concerns.
The matters raised with The Australian are known to the Uniting Church and are being addressed through appropriate processes, with ongoing consultation and support provided to the congregations. They are entirely unrelated to the minister’s or the congregation’s Christian understanding of marriage.