March 20, 2019

Ministry & Sexuality Policy

POLICY STATEMENT

 

 

 

SUBJECT:                                         MINISTRY AND SEXUALITY                   

 

DATE OF PREPARATION: October 2011

 

DATE OF IMPLEMENTATION:       October 2011

 

IMPLEMENTING AUTHORITY:       Church Council

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Background

At the 11th Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia in 2003, it was resolved that persons living in committed same-gender relationships might, under certain conditions, be appointed to positions of leadership within the Church (including Pastoral Ministry positions).  The resolution, which subsequently became known as “Resolution 84”, created significant controversy within the Uniting Church and its adoption was deferred until the matter could be discussed throughout the Church and reconsidered at the 12th Assembly in 2006. 

 

The 12th Assembly reconsidered the matter and despite the disparate opinion within the Church, confirmed the central tenets of Resolution 84 as Resolution 108.  The Resolution states that decisions regarding sexuality and leadership remain with presbyteries.  A congregation cannot be compelled to accept a minister living in a same-gender relationship if it cannot do so in good conscience.

 

Current situation in 2011

The Assembly resolution 108 and subsequent material from the Assembly Standing Committee  made it clear that when Presbyteries select candidates for ministry they may be guided by a Presbytery commitment to a particular approach to sexual ethics, but each determination of candidature must still be made on a case by case basis.

During the course of the debate, and in particular from 1997 onwards, some ministers living in same-sex relationships have ‘come out’ without their ordination or ministry being challenged. This means that theUnitingChurchinAustraliais one of the very few Christian denominations that accepts and supports the ministry of people in same-sex relationships.

 

 

 

 

Congregational implications

The Keilor East – Airport West Congregation recognises that its members may have widely differing perceptions about the acceptability of people living in a same-gender relationship in some or all circumstances.  However, it believes that the appointment of a person living in a same-gender relationship to a ministry position within the Congregation would be unacceptable.

 

In recognising the breadth of opinion likely to be held by members of the Congregation about this issue, the Keilor East – Airport West Congregation acknowledges that its members have the right to participate in organisations opposed to Assembly’s decisions.  However, to preserve open discussion and debate about the issues involved, it will not undertake corporate membership of such organisations. 

 

The Keilor East – Airport West Congregation will welcome and lovingly share its understanding of the Gospel to any person who participates in its activities, irrespective of any declared or undeclared sexual preferences.

 

Placements

The Keilor East – Airport West Congregation is opposed to the placement of a person living in a same-gender relationship to a position in which ministry is exercised, whether it is as Minister of the Word, Deacon, Lay Pastor, Ministry Intern, or Youth Worker (either accredited or eligible for commissioning).

 

The Keilor East – Airport West Congregation will advise the Presbytery about any change to its current decision not to consider or accept a person living in a same-gender relationship as its Minister.