This week's news and notices from congregations, the SA Synod and the wider Uniting Church.
Marriage discussions continue
Posted in News
Today, Wednesday 15 November, the results of the Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey were announced. Nearly 80% of voters returned the voluntary ballot, responding to the question “should the law be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry?” The overall responses were 61.6% (7.82 million) “yes” to 38.4% (4.87 million) “no”.
Just before publishing this article, Uniting Church SA Moderator Rev Sue Ellis prepared a media release in response to the survey results. It is available to read online here.
Conversations about marriage will be a significant part of the upcoming Presbytery and Synod meeting, which will be held from Thursday 23 to Saturday 25 November at Adelaide West Uniting Church. It will also be discussed at the 15th Triennial Assembly in 2018.
To allow for productive discussions at the national meeting, the Assembly Standing Committee has invited input and comment from Synods. To aid in this discernment, they have asked all Synods to discuss the following three areas at their state gatherings:
- Share your hopes and concerns about our conversation on marriage.
- In what mutually respectful ways could we move together as a Church that reflects the breadth of who we are as the Uniting Church in Australia?
- What matters would you like the Assembly Standing Committee to consider as it prepares for a discussion on this matter at the 15th Assembly?
Members of the SA Presbytery and Synod will be invited to consider these topics at the November meeting. These conversations will take place in small groups and through plenary sharing, and will use elements of the Space for Grace process, particularly an emphasis on listening and respectful conversations (read more about Space for Grace here). The Synod’s responses will be forwarded to the Assembly Standing Committee.
Proposals related to same-sex marriage will also be presented and discussed by members at the November meeting.
Regardless of any legislation change resulting from the survey outcome, the Uniting Church will continue to engage in its own process of discernment in a way that reflects the Church’s commitment to uphold Christian values and principles.
Uniting Church President Stuart McMillan and the Moderators of each Synod released a pastoral statement last week. Church members are encouraged to read this statement (online here), and to pray for wisdom, courage and discernment as we consider the implications of the survey results and prepare for the upcoming discussions.
For more information about the upcoming Presbytery and Synod meeting, please click here.
To read the pastoral statement released by the Uniting Church President and Moderators last week, please click here.
Other statements and messages released on the topic of marriage include some from Uniting Church SA Moderator Rev Sue Ellis (online here and here) and from Uniting Church President Stuart McMillan (here and here). Further information is also available on the Assembly website here.
The photo accompanying this article was made available through Flickr courtesy of Gerard’s World. The original image has been cropped for use here.
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A pastoral statement from the President of the Uniting Church in Australia in regards to the change in Australian marriage law.