UCA pushback begins
Challenges being raised to national decision to allow same-sex marriage
Christians who support the traditional definition of marriage are pushing back against the Uniting Church in Australia (UCA)’s National Assembly decision to allow same-sex marriages.
One effect of the UCA Assembly decision to has been to unify evangelical groups.
In an attempt to make the Assembly reconsider, some campaigners within the UCA will employ a never before used provision in the UCA Constitution. Section “39a” allows UCA state councils (synods) or regional bodies (presbyteries) to seek the suspension of an assembly decision, and to notify the president that a matter “vital to the church” has been decided by the assembly with “inadequate consultation.”
According to Section “39b”, suspending an assembly decision requires “at least half the Presbyteries within the bounds of each of at least half the Synods, or at least half the Synods.”
The most likely synods to vote to seek suspension of the decision are Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the Northern Synod, which represents the north of WA and the Northern Territory. At the time of writing, the South Moreton (Gold Coast) and Central presbyteries had voted to suspend the decision, with two more required in that state. WA and SA meet in November.
The Indigenous membership of the UCA, which is significant in the Northern Synod, leans conservative, along with other culturally distinct groups. The Korean Presbytery in NSW also has voted for suspending the decision.
The UCA Assembly may be forced to meet and reconsider their SSM decision although they are unlikely to change their minds.
One effect of the UCA Assembly decision to has been to unify evangelical groups. The Assembly of Confessing Congregations – an evangelical group within the UCA – has been holding information meetings.
The EL250 group, which links large evangelical churches, has been running ’40 days of discernment’ programmes, and these churches will have decisions to make very soon. These groups and state-based evangelical groups – such as Hopenet in SA and Pneuma in WA – have been talking more than ever before.