27. PROCESS FOR RESPECTFUL CONSULTATION IN THE CHURCH (Multicultural and Cross Cultural Ministry)

That the Assembly

1. support the following process for the engagement of Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress (UAICC) and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities in discussion and discernment about developing a theology of marriage in culturally appropriate ways;

2. the process include requesting the President, in consultation with the Chairperson and National Coordinator of the UAICC and the Chairperson and National Director of the Assembly Multicultural and Cross-cultural Ministry Reference Committee to:

(a) identify suitably gifted persons, women and men, older and younger, and to invite them to a gathering for story-telling and story-listening about:
i. What respectful processes occur and are used within their various cultures and language groups, for teaching / learning/sharing story, knowledge, new things;
ii. How decisions are made that are inclusive and respectful;
iii. What inclusion and working together look like – including different culture/language groups, genders, and ages;
iv. Explore any connections between the shared stories and the intentions of the first nine pages of the Manual for Meetings, and how understanding those connections might better assist God’s people to include, empower, respect their diversity in unity in Christ;

(b) identify a place and gathering framework with time and space appropriate to the cultural diversity of the group for such a conversation / Talanoa / ….. with the women and men, young and older, together and / or separate as is most appropriate;

(c) ensure that sufficient time is allowed in order that such a gathering has sufficient space for grace – for building the kind of safe place, genuine connections, and community envisaged in the Manual for Meetings, and is normal in how many communities exercise hospitality;

3. request the gathering to report to the Assembly Standing Committee before the 15th Assembly, taking into account the following considerations:

(a) When members of the gathering agree that there are insights they are ready and able to share, how their “report / story” might be sent to the whole Church in a format /manner that the members agree is most appropriate and helpful in telling the story: song, dance, video, variety of languages, images, art, written, etc;

(b) Include possible ways in which any insights / discernments of the activity and guidance of the Spirit / Word / Interests of God might be used to assist the UCA:
i. In establishing working and other groups whose membership involves people whose gifts and graces are marked by deep understanding of these insights;
ii. To further develop processes that will be conspicuously marked by respectful, empowering, and inclusive decision-making. Processes and people through whom God’s grace is clearly at work bringing into being these signs of the realities of God’s interests (One Body, many members: living faith and life cross-culturally);
iii. Explore other areas of concern noted by the Doctrine Working Group in its report to the work undertaken on a Theology of Marriage such as: the doctrines of Scripture, creation, new creation in Christ, along with Covenant theology and its expressions in communal and personal faith journeying, and to partnership as expressed through our relations with partner churches and other ecumenical bodies; and

4. authorise the President to invite all of the Councils, National Conferences and membership of the UCA to contribute gifts to provide for travel and other costs in making such a gathering possible, and to support any communities which may be offering hospitality / hosting; as an expression of inclusion and equality of opportunity, and as a way of recognising and accessing all the gifts of the whole people of God as matters of importance for the whole UCA in all its Councils, Conferences and gatherings.