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Christian discussion groups on dating relationships

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Among other important findings, the process of consultation and study reflected in the Working Group on Doctrine Report on Marriage and Same-Gender Relationships has confirmed that: The Assembly Standing Committee has provided two proposals to help the Fifteenth Assembly wait upon God’s Word and discern God’s will in relation to this matter.

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The Standing Committee requested the President to host two national consultations of approximately 30 people using the Space for Grace process to enable intercultural conversations and consider related issues.The other request was for the General Secretary, in the event that the Commonwealth Marriage Act or other relevant legislation was changed, to write to all Uniting Church marriage celebrants advising them of their freedom and constraints under that legislation and as celebrants authorised by the Uniting Church.Following the change to the Commonwealth Marriage Act in December 2017, the General Secretary wrote to Uniting Church authorised marriage celebrants with the requested advice.In keeping with the commitment of our Church to stand together as we struggle with challenging issues in amongst the diversity of our members, this conversation has been no different.We listen for the Spirit’s wisdom and guidance in the light of the Scriptures and in keeping with the Gospel understanding of the unique worth of every human being, religious liberty and personal dignity, and a concern for the welfare and flourishing of every person and the whole creation.PROCESS UNDERTAKEN IN THE PAST TRIENNIUM In accordance with resolution 15.15, the Fourteenth Assembly requested the Assembly Standing Committee, in consultation with Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) and the Multicultural Cross Cultural Ministry National Reference Committee to explore how the Church can engage in further discussions about marriage and same-gender relationships in culturally appropriate ways, including engaging with the continuing work of the Working Group on Doctrine in this area, and with members of the LGBTIQ community and the wider Church.

The Standing Committee was also requested to consult with our ecumenical partners, where appropriate to investigate the implications of changing the Church’s current relationship with the Commonwealth Government with respect to the conduct of marriages.

Within the diversity of our fellowship there are ministers and congregations who believe the change in our social context that allows same-gender marriage is consistent with the Gospel, and want to be able to celebrate same-gender marriage as well as opposite-gender marriages.

They are seeking the consent of the rest of the Church to have this ability.

The proposals from the Standing Committee are built on this, and the conversations, processes and wisdom gathered over the past triennium.

Members are invited to engage with the issues, scholarship and insights that are included in this report in respectful conversations, and to prayerfully consider the proposals.

A report from the Standing Committee was to be brought to the Fifteenth Assembly.