BUC’s Church Council welcomes the decision of the national Assembly to allow ministers to conduct same-gender marriages.

In a Pastoral Letter to all Uniting Churches, UCA President Dr Dierdre Palmer explains:

To honour the diversity of Christian belief among our members, we will hold two equal and distinct statements of belief on marriage.

This decision will allow ministers and celebrants in the Uniting Church the freedom to conduct or to refuse to conduct same-gender marriages.

The existing statement of belief that “marriage for Christians is the freely given consent and commitment in public and before God of a man and a woman to live together for life” has been retained.

A new additional statement of belief has also been adopted. That statement reads “marriage for Christians is the freely given consent and commitment in public and before God of two people to live together for life.

What this means is that ministers who, in good conscience, are willing to conduct same-gender marriages are able to do so. This does not compromise the rights of those ministers who, in good conscience, cannot conduct same-gender marriages. They will continue to be able to teach their belief that marriage may only be between a man and a woman, and can continue to use a marriage liturgy that reflects that conviction.

I want to acknowledge the ministry and struggle of LGBTIQ people in the Uniting Church over many years. I know that this conversation is painful and difficult for you. At the same time I also acknowledge those who are not able to support this change – and your pain and difficulty in this space.

I offer my prayers that God grants you comfort and healing as we move ahead.

After learning of the decision, Brunswick UC’s minister Rev Ian Ferguson said:

“I am delighted that the decision by the UCA Assembly this week has freed me to more fully exercise my pastoral vocation. I rejoice that my LGBTQI siblings in Christ will be able to be married in their own church if they wish, and I look forward to sharing in their celebrations. God’s love has no limits and this decision brings our congregation deeper into the embrace of that love.”

As noted by former UCA President Andrew Dutney, this decision reflects and reaffirms the unity in diversity that has long been central to the Uniting Church. BUC’s Church Council welcomes the decision, and celebrates the diversity of our members and of our journeys of faith.