Uniting Church says sexuality issue up to its congregations



THE Uniting Church of Australia has agreed to disagree on the issue of same-sex relationships and leadership within the church.

The Uniting Church's 250-member National Assembly came together last week and among the items on the agenda were sexuality and leadership ? specifically, whether the church will accept same-gender relationships and homosexual ministers.

Minister for the Coffs Harbour Uniting Churches, Reverend Ian Weeks, who attended the National Assembly, said the topic of same-sex relationships and church leadership has been an issue in Australia since the 1980s.

"The last Assembly, in 2003, decided not to make a definitive statement one way or the other on the issue, but last week the Assembly formalised that position," Rev. Weeks said.

The position is that, at this time, the church will 'live in unity with our diversity' and place the decision of ordination and placement of same-sex ministers in the hands of the congregations who they would be representing.

"My personal belief is that same-sex relationships are inappropriate in the eyes of God," Rev. Weeks said.

"I would never judge a person, and in terms of people struggling with their sexual identity, I would say that we are all broken people. "The good news I get from the Bible is that we don't have to remain that way."

Rev. Weeks said the issue of same-sex relationships and church leadership had the potential to divide the Uniting Church in the same manner that the Anglican Church had been divided in recent years.

"For a church to go down the path (of same-sex relationships) is a big issue for those members of the congregation who hold the traditional views interpreted from the scriptures, that homosexuality is not appropriate," Rev. Weeks said.



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