2 October, 2018

Church Council's decision on Same Sex Marriage

Everyone at Emmanuel would have been aware of, or taken part in, our fast for 40 days as we prayed and spent time trying to discern the will of God on the same sex marriage ruling and what it means for us here at Emmanuel Uniting Church.

It is a Synod requirement that church council, as your elected representative, decide on whether same sex marriage unions would be allowed to take place at Emmanuel. Council discussed how we believe that it is God who calls a minister to a church, and we believe that Ian’s call here was to assist us to grow and develop. This includes reaching out into our community of unbelievers. We want to support his call here. You are already aware of Ian’s view regarding SSM, but it is not a singling out of one demographic group. Ian advised us that over the years he has occasionally refused to marry heterosexual couples when deemed inappropriate. Talk to Ian about this should you want further detail.

God created a diverse group of people and so we can expect diversity in how we interpret the bible too – and this has certainly come through as Ian and church council talked to you our church family members about your views. About 10% of the congregation came along to one or the other of the morning and evening discussions on this topic, to share their thoughts and questions. What we heard was that about 45% of the church was happy with the Assembly decision and about 55% were not – and this was reflected in the members of church council, and our staff too.

After discussion, we voted no to same sex marriages taking place at Emmanuel, with the proviso, that same sex couples who ask to be married here would be given a list of Uniting Churches who would provide this service for them.

Alison Anderson

Chair, Church Council