Protest is in the air at the Uniting Church of Australia (UCA) after its National Assembly’s decision earlier this year to allow two distinct, and contradictory, views on marriage. The Assembly resolved that the UCA would become the first major denomination in Australia to conduct same-sex “weddings”, while also allowing some parishes to only recognise man-woman marriage. The decision, apparently made in order to “honour the diversity of Christian belief among its members”, has placed a wedge firmly down the middle of the church.

Whether any full congregations leave the UCA or not over the inclusion of same-sex “marriage” within the life of the church is yet to be determined. However, there has already been a significant protest move made, one that could determine the long-term future of the denomination. The protest, made in accordance with Clause 39 of the church’s constitution, allows the wider membership of the Uniting Church to stop the implementation of a decision and call for a wider consultation and review. And that is what is happening right now. There is a call from several groups within the Uniting Church calling for the Assembly’s decision to be reviewed and reversed.

Failure by the assembly to respect this call could lead to the fracturing of the Uniting Church. UCA’s largest Church, Newlife on the Gold Coast, has already dropped the word “Uniting” from its name. And the Assembly of Confessing Congregations (ACC) has called for the UCA to adopt “non-geographic presbyteries” which would allow evangelical churches that hold to traditional marriage only, to band together. ACC’s move has widespread support, including from outside of the Uniting Church. “The decisions of the Uniting Church National Assembly should be of grave concern to Christians of all denominations,” said Sydney’s Anglican Archbishop Glenn Davies.

“On my behalf, Bishop Michael Stead has been in discussions with the leaders of the Assembly of Confessing Congregations and others. “We urge them to stand firm in the face of a departure from the doctrine of Christ and compromise with the spirit of the world by the Synod of the Uniting Church.” Only time will tell whether the Uniting Church can survive intact. Many ministers and their congregants have already left the Uniting Church; and only a complete reversal of the same-sex “marriage” decision may prevent many more doing the same in coming months.

Source: Australian Family Coalition 

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