As a direct response to the 2006 National Assembly’s request for a working group to consider the diversity of views across the Church regarding sexuality and leadership, the Uniting Church’s National Working Group on Doctrine facilitated a two day consultation in Sydney earlier this month.
Six theologians from across Australia, representing a variety of viewpoints, were invited to write papers exploring the issues, which were then discussed during the two day colloquium.
University of Melbourne Chaplain and Convenor of the National Working Group on Doctrine Rev Dr Wes Campbell said the gathering was seen as a positive development by all involved.
“People came relatively tentatively, not at all sure this was going to be a helpful process,” said Dr Campbell.
“At the end there was a strong statement right around the table that it had been a serious and helpful thing to do.”
The dialogue will be ongoing, but the working group will soon produce a statement on the way in which the Church regards marriage.
“In the Church there is broad agreement about a number of things, but there are some particular points of difference around same-sex relationships and leadership,” said Dr Campbell.
He said the challenge for the group is to listen to a variety of voices in the Church and to develop a substantial Assembly teaching.
Dr Campbell said there is little doubt that the meeting can be seen as a positive step forward.
“We know there is a lot of work to be done and this is just a beginning.”
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