43. UNDERSTANDING OF MARRIAGE AND BLESSING SERVICES FOR SAME GENDER RELATIONSHIPS (Presbytery of South Moreton)

Friday, 15 June 2012

The Assembly resolves to

1. reaffirm its current position on marriage as being between a man and a woman as stated at the 8th Assembly [1997 -  minute 97. 31.12 (1)];

2. reject any liturgies such as being used for same-sex blessing services that seek to mimic, undermine and deconstruct marriage;

3. remind Synods and Presbyteries that the discipline of the church be exercised if a minister:

  1. advocates doctrine contrary to that which the Church has determined as essential to the faith; [2012 UCA Regulations 5.7.2c]
  2. fails to uphold the theological and the liturgical tradition of the Church [Code of Ethics 3.3 (e)]; and 

4. participate with our ecumenical partners and other Christian denominations by stating the Uniting Church’s view of marriage in the public square.

Rationale:

  1. There is developing uncertainty which needs to be clarified around the nature of the ceremony of a same-sex wedding blessing and the liturgy used in mimicking marriage which may undermine and deconstruct what the church has already approved;
  2. Given the current stated UCA position on marriage it seems to be presumptuous and not consistent to seek to consider a same-sex union liturgy at the July 2012 National Assembly without seeking due consideration and advice from the doctrine working group or worship working group.
  3. The public statement by Uniting Justice to the Federal Government with a rider which is inconsistent with the church's current position on the issue and the fact that the Assembly or its doctrine working group or worship working group have not made a submission has been confusing to many congregations, members and ministers.
  4. There is sadness andfrom our migrant ethnic congregations and their home churches at the direction the church may be taking on its understanding of marriage, through its silence, which does not create a sense of unity or understanding.
  5. There is a need for pastoral consideration from the whole church that for many of our congregations this issue continues to cause confusion and division.
  6. Because of the ongoing debate and since the church has not reaffirmed the 1997 position, this has left many of our ministers, congregations and local communities confused regarding the UCAs stance on marriage.