Pastoral Letter from UCA President, Dr Deidre Palmer

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Last weekend the newly elected Assembly Standing Committee (ASC) met in Sydney. During our meeting together, we shared information and stories from across the life of the church since the Fifteenth Assembly. We spoke of the signs of hope and the movement of the Holy Spirit we continue to see in and through our Church and the wider Australian society. We spoke of pastoral concerns and prayed for the life and mission of our Church.

It was the task of the ASC to make decisions in relation to a number of matters referred to us by the Assembly meeting, including authorising an additional marriage liturgy.

The ASC has faithfully considered the matters referred to it as requested by the Assembly, and the Uniting Church in Australia Additional Marriage Liturgy 2018 has been released. The liturgy is posted on the Assembly website. The ASC has determined that authorised marriage celebrants within the Uniting Church in Australia may choose to use this liturgy in weddings from the 21st of September 2018. By using this liturgy, or the previously authorised marriage liturgies, Uniting Church authorised marriage celebrants will be acting properly within the rites of the Uniting Church in Australia.

I reaffirm that the Assembly’s resolution on marriage allows you to hold one of two positions on marriage, as a member, Minister or Church Council. The Assembly made this decision acknowledging the faithfully held positions across the life of the Church.
If you are still concerned about the position of the Uniting Church in relation to same-gender marriage, I would encourage you to talk to your Presbytery or Synod leaders to ensure you are acting on accurate information about the nature and impact of the Assembly’s decision. Resources including frequently asked questions are also available on the Assembly website.

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Marriage decision – a helpful reflection from Andrew Dutney

At Assembly – Rev. Prof Andrew Dutney, Professor of Theology, Flinders University and Past President, Uniting Church in Australia

Reflection: Uniting Church Allows Same-Sex Marriage

The headline, [Uniting Church allows Same-Sex Marriage] conceals what actually happened in Melbourne this week. Without setting out to do so, the Uniting Church recovered its stated vocation of making visible unity in diversity.

Of course, the 15th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia did indeed make decisions that will allow ministers to conduct same-sex marriages. But it also reinforced the rights of ministers and congregations who remain committed to the traditional understanding of marriage as exclusively between a man and a woman.

No minister will have to conduct same-sex marriages if it conflicts with their beliefs. No congregation will have to make its property available for same-sex weddings if they don’t believe gay marriage is valid for Christians. In fact it is very unlikely that many ministers and congregations will see any difference in the teaching and practices that they are used to.

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Moderator’s pastoral message on Assembly marriage decision

John Williams and Vanessa Crimmins as Co-Chairs of Canberra Region Presbytery write:

Good morning Presbytery Colleagues

A pastoral message from the Moderator regarding the 15th Assembly’s marriage decision announcement can be read below or, along with a copy of the Assembly’s media release, can be downloaded here.

Moderator’s PASTORAL MESSAGE – 15th Assembly
180713 Uniting Church MEDIA RELEASE – Freedom to decide on marriage

As you all process or continue to reflect, meditate and pray on the decisions we have made as the Uniting Church with regard to Same Sex Marriage, know you are very much in our prayers for wisdom, grace and love. I am confident that with much prayer, listening and love, blessings not imagined will come.

Warmly Yours
John and Vanessa
Co-Chairs, Canberra Region Presbytery

The Moderator’s message: Continue reading

Abundant Grace, Liberating Hope – next UCA Assembly

The 15th Assembly of the Uniting Church will take place 8-14th July 2018.

The theme of the Assembly is Abundant Grace, Liberating Hope.

If you are interested there is a lot of information about the Assembly, including reports and proposals that can be accessed here: https://uniting.church

On the website there are also ways you can keep up with what is happening at Assembly and ways you can be involved even though you will not be attending. Please pray for the Assembly and those attending as they discern God’s leading on many proposals and action of the Uniting Church nationally.

Proposal on marriage
You may be aware by now that a proposal will be presented to the Assembly on marriage and below is a summary of that proposal written by Rev Karyl Davison one of the Canberra Region Presbytery members to Assembly. There are also two short video links you may like to view giving an over view of this particular proposal.

Rev Dr Ji Zhang     https://vimeo.com/264924501

Rev Alistair McRae   https://vimeo.com/264923268

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