The deliberations of the Victorian and Tasmanian Uniting Church might not normally attract an ABC TV crew, but they were there at Synod 2017 on Sunday.
A day later ABC Lateline broadcast a story on the working group discussions of same-sex marriage that occurred at the request of Assembly, which is consider the Church’s position next year at a general meeting.
The report showed Assembly gen sec Colleen Geyer’s introduction to the working group session.
“These discussions are often testing for church members,” Ms Geyer said.
“So I ask you all: please, today, listen with love and respect and open your hearts to those who are sharing with you and please choose your words carefully.”
As well as footage shot at Box Hill Town Hall, the report featured Uniting Church minister and Bible lecturer Rev Robyn Whitaker, who delivered the sermon at Friday’s opening service of Synod 2017.
Ms Whitaker has come out strongly in support of same-sex marriage but acknowledged that, as an academic, she was privileged to speak freely without fearing for her job.
“I know, for some of my clergy friends in other churches, there are very real consequences to them speaking out,” she said.
In the report Synod member Aaron Blakemore said he was worried that, like Synods past, there would be “a big discussion and it’ll be emotional and there’ll be tears and we’ll struggle together – and then we’ll do nothing. Again.”
For today’s Friday Forum we ask for your thoughts on how the Uniting Church is handling the debate.
Are people feeling free to express their thoughts and is the discussion amounting to something meaningful?