Sexuality & Leadership in the Uniting Church

11 July 2006

Following careful, and prayerful reflection and discernment the Uniting Church's 250 member National Assembly has been unable to come to one mind on the issue of accepting into leadership positions those living in committed same-gender relationships.

Acknowledging that there was a diversity of opinion within its membership, the Assembly today passed a resolution which re-affirms that matters relating to the placement and ordination of those living in committed same-gender relationships will continue to be made by the local Congregation and Presbytery on a case by case basis. This upholds the existing practice of the Church.

Uniting Church President, Rev. Gregor Henderson said Assembly members recognised this was an important issue for many members of the Church but that after lengthy discussions and spiritual discernment they had been unable to reach agreement as to whether the Assembly should further exercise determining responsibility on this issue and adopt a single policy to apply across the entire church.

"I am grateful for the gracious and respectful way that members of the Assembly addressed this issue. We were also deeply moved by the response of the Aboriginal arm of the church which, despite opposing the current practice, committed itself to remain within the fellowship of the Uniting Church. Our discussions over the last few days remind us that we have a range of deeply held convictions in our church on this issue and that we are not of the same mind at this time. Notwithstanding the hopes of many in the church, the Assembly resolved that it was unable to exercise further its determining authority in this matter.

"We have prayerfully sought to discern God's will on this matter and I believe we have reached a position of integrity at this time that allows us to live in unity with our diversity. The decision of the Assembly today recognises that there are a range of understandings about this issue.

"This decision re-affirms that congregations and presbyteries will continue to be the place where decisions around the ordination and placement of those living in committed samegender relationships are made. Congregations who are unable, in all good conscience, to receive such a minister will not be compelled to do so. The resolution also calls the church to respect the decision of a congregation indicating its willingness to consider calling a minister in a committed same-gender relationship."