71. THEOLOGY OF MARRIAGE DISCUSSION (Facilitation Group)

Please note that proposals below are not necessarily in their final agreed form. Formal minutes of the 14th Assembly will be published as soon as practicable. 

Further coverage on the marriage discussion: http://assembly2015.uca.org.au/culturally-appropriate-marriage-discussion-to-continue/

It was resolved to:

1. receive the report on ‘The theology of marriage and same gender relationships within the Uniting Church’;

2. request the Standing Committee, in consultation with the UAICC and Multicultural and Cross-cultural Ministry, to explore how the Uniting Church can engage in further discussions about marriage and same-gender relationships in culturally appropriate ways; and

3. request the Standing Committee address immediately, through appropriate mechanisms, the following work:

(a) to engage with the continuing work of the Doctrine Working Group as outlined in its report to the 14th Assembly;

(b) to engage with the members of the LGBTIQ community and the wider Church in discussions about marriage and same-gender relationships;

(c) in consultation with the relevant Assembly working groups, to prepare a report to the Fifteenth Assembly with appropriate recommendations, as well as supporting theological, liturgical, pastoral and educational resources; and

(d) in consultation with our ecumenical partners, where appropriate, to investigate the implications of changing the Church’s current relationship with the Commonwealth Government with respect to the conduct of marriages.

4. request the President to issue a pastoral letter to the Church affirming that the UCA seeks to be an inclusive Church that embraces LGBTIQ people as full members of our church community and is committed to active and culturally appropriate discussion about marriage; and

5. request the General Secretary, in the event that the Commonwealth Marriage Act or other relevant legislation, is changed, to write to all Uniting Church marriage celebrants, advising them of their freedoms and constraints under that legislation and as celebrants authorised by the Uniting Church.

 


70. CHAIRPERSONS OF COMMITTEES

That the Assembly

Declare elected the following persons:

 

(1) Admission of Ministers Commission – Chairperson – Rev. Dr John A Evans

(2) Adult Fellowship National Committee – Chairperson – Mrs Margaret Pedler

(3) Frontier Services – Chairperson – Mr Jim Mein

(4) UnitingWorld Relief and Development – Chairperson – Rev. John Ruhle

(5) UnitingWorld Church Connections – Chairperson – Dr Andrew Roderick Glenn

(6) Formation, Education and Discipleship – Chairperson – Rev. Dr Ian Price

(7) Legal Reference Committee – Chairperson – Mr Warwick van Ede

(8) Defence Force Chaplaincy Convenor – Chairperson – Rev. Dr Murray Earl

(9) Theology and Discipleship Convenors’ Forum – Chairperson – Rev. Carolyn Thornley

(10) Multicultural and Cross-cultural Ministry – Chairperson – Rev. Kisoo Jang

(11) Church Polity – Chairperson – Rev. Gordon Ramsay

(12) UnitingJustice – Chairperson – Dr Deidre Palmer

(13) UnitingCare – Chairperson – Mr Peter Bicknell

(14) National Working Group on Doctrine – Convenor – Rev. Alistair Macrae

(15) National Working Group on Worship – Convenor – Rev. Dr Graham Vawser

(16) Relations with Other Faiths Working Group – Convenor – Rev. Michael Barnes

(17) Christian Uniting Working Group – Chairperson – Dr Morag Logan

(18) Education for Ministry Group – Chairperson – Rev. Prof. Andrew Dutney

(19) Historical Reference Committee – Chairperson – Margaret Reeson


69. RELATIONSHIP WITH CHINA CHRISTIAN COUNCIL (UnitingWorld)

That the Assembly

 

1. welcome the emerging relationship between the Uniting Church in Australia and the China Christian Council and affirms the importance of this relationship;

2. encourage UnitingCare and UnitingWorld to collaborate in growing this relationship, particularly in mutual learning and support for social services provision and theological education; and

3. encourage UnitingCare and UnitingWorld to use their learning and experience from this relationship to strengthen their own agencies and share them for the benefit of the wider Uniting Church.

 

Rationale

a) The opening paragraphs of the Basis of Union of the Uniting Church in Australia calls us to “seek a wider unity in the power of the Holy Spirit” within the ecumenical context, and with particular geographic focus “to seek special relationship with Churches in Asia and the Pacific”. The budding relationship with the China Christian Council (CCC) is an outworking of this call.

b) The CCC is a rapidly growing church who have recognized their need for leadership development both in theological ministry as well as in the provision of social services, as the church steps into the gap to provide care for the an ageing society (Currently China has 200 million people over 60 years old, a figure that will double in the next 20 years). This has influenced the nature of the relationship with the UCA to date, highlighting an area of shared interest and capacity.

c) The relationship between the UCA and the CCC has grown over the last five years through several interactions:

2010:    Initial contact between UCA and CCC

2011:    UCA President Rev Alistair Macrae led the first official visit to China

2012:    CCC President Rev Gao Feng and General Secretary Rev Kan Baoping led the first official visit to the UCA; attending the 13th UCA Assembly and visiting theological colleges and UnitingCare facilities.

2013:    President Rev Prof Andrew Dutney and President Elect Mr Stuart McMillan led a delegation to attend the first joint theological conference between the UCA and the CCC titled ‘One Shepherd, One Flock’.

2014:    UnitingCare hosted a visit from the CCC Social Service Dept who were researching quality aged care services for China. Two CCC theologians participated in the Basis of Union Conference in Sydney on the topic of “Unity of Partnership in Social Service”.

2015:    Following the invitation of the CCC, UnitingCare/UnitingWorld teams made two visits to CCC services, one to research current state of aged care services in China, and another to deliver professional and management skills training to 90 aged care services managers from across China. The training was hugely successful.

d) The interactions between UnitingWorld, UnitingCare and CCC have resulted in a depth and breadth of relationship with stakeholders in China including the CCC national leadership, the Provincial Synod leaders, theological seminaries, aged-care providers and a local Christian-business association.

e) Both UnitingWorld and UnitingCare have recognised the mutual benefit of their Agencies and the wider UCA engaging with the CCC, as UCA’s theology and practice of ministry, mission and social service are re-examined and renewed in the context of sharing and learning with a vibrant and growing church with a richly different history and culture.

 




3. APPOINTMENT OF THE BUSINESS COMMITTEE (Business Committee)

That the Assembly appoint the following persons as members of the Business Committee for the Fourteenth Assembly: Terence Corkin (Chairperson), Geoffrey Grinton (Business Manager), Stuart McMillan, Alison Atkinson – Phillips, Glenda Blakefield, Chris Budden, Michelle Cooke, Dennis Corowa, Haloti Kailahi Rosemary Hudson Miller and Deidre Palmer.



5. ORDER OF BUSINESS (Business Committee)

That the Assembly approve the order of business and the timetable submitted by the Business Committee, noting that decisions to vary the order of business and timetable can be taken by the Assembly at any time.



7. BALLOTS AND NOMINATING PROCEDURES (Business Committee)

That the Assembly

1. appoint Warwick van Ede as Returning Officer and David Hay as Assistant Returning Officer;

2. appoint a Ballot Committee with responsibility for advising the Assembly on any questions relating to nominations and elections;

3. appoint the following persons as members of the Ballot Committee: Warwick van Ede (Convenor), David Hay (Assistant Returning Officer), Isabel Thomas Dobson and Ian Tozer;

4. appoint the following persons as scrutineers: Sue Ellis (Convenor), Penny Archer, Peter Armstrong, Robert Renton and Yuko Tonai-Moore; and

5. determine that the closing time for nominations is 6.00pm Tuesday July 14.