Why did the 15th Assembly have this conversation?
The conversation at the 15th Assembly took place in the context of long and sometimes challenging discernment on sexuality-related issues in the life of the Uniting Church since the 1980s.
These previous discussions largely focussed on the ordination of people in same-gender relationships, rather than the issue of marriage.
The Uniting Church has been willing to have such discussions and has endeavoured to do so with grace and respect towards one another.
You can find further details of these previous conversations in the History section.
The Uniting Church discussion on such issues is part of a wider community of discernment, namely the international and ecumenical context, in which many churches are seeking to respond in faith and obedience to new questions and challenges.
Across the global church there have been, broadly speaking, three responses to the question of same-gender marriage: some churches have moved to broaden the definition of marriage to include same-gender couples; some have retained marriage as a male-female covenant while developing covenants of blessing for same-gender monogamous partnerships, and other churches have decided to retain marriage as a male-female relationship and offer no recognised ceremonies of blessing for same-gender relationships.
Each of these decisions has been made in good faith by churches within the worldwide fellowship of churches. These options – and some variations on them – are before the Uniting Church.
“We are committed to being an inclusive Church that embraces LGBTIQ people as full members and to culturally appropriate discussion about relationships and marriage across our diversity.
In this we do as the Scripture urges us, we show by our love for each other God’s love for the wider community.”
As the discussion within the Church and in wider society has progressed, our President and Moderators have made a number of Pastoral Statements outlining the way in which our Church will choose to engage in this issue.