There are differing strongly held views on proposals for same sex marriage, within Australian society, and among Christians. The 2015 National Assembly of the Uniting Church emphasised the need for safe space where our cultural diverse church can engage in respectful discussions – refer to the statement at that time by the Uniting Church in Australia President, Stuart McMillan.
Whatever your position or vote as Uniting Church members, as Christians and as people of the wider community, continue to treat all people with dignity and respect as our society navigates through this important topic.
“My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry,” James 1:19 NIV.
In August 2017 the National Assembly has reminded church members about discernment around the conversations on marriage.
In advance of the survey results being known, the President of the National Assembly and the Moderators of the Synods have released a powerful Pastoral Statement, commencing:
'The week ahead will be challenging for our community and our church, as the results of the Government’s voluntary postal survey on same gender marriage will be released.'
While we are likely to have existing positions on the issue of same sex marriage, it is always useful to consider other perspectives – having our thinking challenged helps us refine our understanding and discernment of what is right. Who of us has reached a stage in our Christian life where we know everything and will never again change our beliefs or understandings on anything? As St Paul wrote:
"For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known." 1 Corinthians 13:12 NIV.
The history of the People of God includes ongoing discoveries of the increasing breadth of God's loving grace, even though some struggled to accept or resisted the change:
- St Peter's encounter with Cornelius, and the immediate receipt of the Holy Spirit, showed that God's salvation applied beyond Jews and converts to Judaism. (Acts 10)
- William Wilberforce and others fighting for the end of slavery
- Civil Rights for United State Blacks and Australia's 1st Peoples
- Equality for women.
It is inevitable that there will be further revelations of where God's People need to extend His inclusive grace into new areas. Could this apply to homosexuality? Below for your consideration are links to a range of perspectives.
- Marriage – statement 17 August 2017
- Marriage Conversation Update, including history and further reading
- Response to 2015 UCA Marriage Paper, Assembly of Confessing Congregations within the UCA
- Redefinion of Marriage, Social Issues Committee, Anglican Diocese of Sydney
- Why marriage should be between a man and a woman, Michael Kellahan
- Australian Christian Lobby
- Christian Federation
- Being Christ's Body – a conversation series about same-sex relationships, marriage and the church, Canberra and Goulburn Anglican Community
- Traditional Sexuality, Radical Community
- Australian Student Christian Movement:
- Royal College of Psychiatrists' statement on sexual orientation
- The Meaning of Marriage, Scott Higgins
- If You’re LGBTQ, Here’s What One Pastor Really Hopes You Know, John Pavlovitz
- Australian Christians for Marriage Equality
- Uniting Network Australia