Statement to the Uniting Church in Australia from the Uniting Network Australia’s 14th Daring Conference, Online 6 June 2020
Daring to meet online
Greetings to the Uniting Church in Australia from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) members, their friends, family and allies.
Since 1994 LGBTIQ+ members of the Uniting Church in Australia have met for a national conference every second year in various states around Australia. Daring Gatherings are about spending time with and learning from others, in an affirming space welcoming all LGBTIQA+ Christians, our friends, families and allies. This year for the first time due to COVID-19 we met online for an afternoon and have postponed our face to face gathering until 2021.
Over 70 people gathered from around Australia to hear and discuss about current challenges in our communities. This included mental health challenges for LGBTIQ+ people. We appreciated participation and discussion with the Assembly President, Dr Deidre Palmer.
The Uniting Executive was appointed during our AGM and we are delighted that all states and territories have representation. The new Executive has an age, faith, cultural diversity too.
The Executive have met several times online, which allows for greater inclusion of voices from around the country. We have been exploring the feedback we received after our Daring Online where people said they want the Uniting Network to create better connections between LGBTIQA and people of faith. They want us to have a stronger presence within the UCA and promote the Open and Affirming resources found on our website. We are redefining ourselves in terms of directions and priorities for beyond 2020.
We have come along way for the inclusion of queer people in the life of the Uniting Church and yet we have so much further to go.
We celebrate that the UCA now has equal marriage and yet we grieve the pain this has caused so many people.
We are aware the often the gay and lesbian voice of our community gets more focus and attention and so we hope to engage more with the intersex, trans and gender fluid people within the Uniting Church.
We celebrate the fact that a number of Synod Uniting Care services have received the “Rainbow Tick” accreditation; and we are advocating for all Uniting Church human services to adopt explicit policies to welcome LGBTIQ+ people.
We are looking forward to participate in the Assembly process concerning an apology for LGBTIQ+ people.
We pray that the Uniting Church in Australia:
will continue to celebrate the gifts of the Spirit, affirming the participation of LGBTI people in all areas of church and society.