Statement to the Uniting Church from the participants at the Ninth Daring Gathering
Melbourne, 13 June 2010
Greetings to the Uniting Church from Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people, friends, family members and allies.
In Melbourne we strongly re-affirmed our belief in the Church as an inclusive community in which all may participate. We affirm this as Good News for the Church today, for the Church in the future, and for LGBTI people.
This is Good News for the Church today.
We believe the message of Christ is one offering hospitality, life, compassion, and grace for all. This reflects diversity in the one united body of Christ. We view this as a challenge and opportunity for the Church to renew its support for families and to extend our understanding of social justice.
The highlight of our time together was the celebration of a Sacred Union ceremony in which four couples were able to affirm their love and commitment to each other before God and in the presence of family, friends and allies. This not only reflected the reality of life but offered the opportunity to recognise same-sex relationships, strengthen all families, and embody Christian Community.
This is Good News for the Church of the future.
We believe this renewed affirmation of relationships and families is a vital message for the future Church. It provides an opportunity to challenge fear and misunderstanding concerning same-sex relationships, to save lives and demonstrate that the Church continues to respond to contemporary issues.
During our gathering, our eyes were opened to the struggles of the Intersex community, and we agreed to extend the Uniting Network’s mandate to include them. We were alerted to new understandings in science and biology concerning sex and gender, and saw this as consistent with the Basis of Union’s call for the Church to engage in contemporary understandings of life and faith.
If the Church today can work to renew and strengthen families and relationships we will be building a lasting heritage to pass onto the Church of the future.
This is Good News for LGBTI people.
We believe the celebration of Sacred Unions is a sign of hope for a Church which is able to honor people’s diverse relationships and commitments.
We invite LGBTI people to join us and to continue this struggle to enable the Church to demonstrate justice and equality. Our witness is for the possibility of wholeness in which our spirituality, sexual and gender identities can be freely expressed. We know this will require a new honesty to support marginalised and oppressed people who have been hurt and excluded by the Church family and wider society.
Just as members of the Uniting Network are on a journey, we invite the whole church to commit to walking along side us with courage and perseverance as we strive towards a renewed community in which the love of Christ is demonstrated for all.