The Uniting Church in Australia has today published an additional marriage liturgy that will allow same-gender couples to get married in Uniting Churches from Friday 21 September 2018.
The liturgy was approved by the Assembly Standing Committee which met in Sydney from 24-26 August.
The publication of the Uniting Church in Australia Additional Marriage Liturgy (2018) follows the decision by members of the 15th Assembly in July to hold two equal and distinct statements of belief on marriage to honour the diversity of Christian belief among Uniting Church members.
President Dr Deidre Palmer has issued a pastoral letter to church members, to reassure people about the additional liturgy.
“By using this liturgy, or the previously authorised marriage liturgies, Uniting Church authorised marriage celebrants will be acting properly within the rites of the Uniting Church in Australia,” Dr Palmer said.
“I reaffirm that the Assembly’s resolution on marriage allows you to hold one of two positions on marriage, as a member, Minister or Church Council. The Assembly made this decision acknowledging the faithfully held positions across the life of the Church.”
The Assembly decision allows ministers and celebrants in the Uniting Church the freedom to conduct or to refuse to conduct same-gender marriages.
In her Pastoral Letter, Dr Palmer also praised the conscientious work of Uniting Church Synods and Presbyteries.
“If you are still concerned about the position of the Uniting Church in relation to same-gender marriage, I would encourage you to talk to your Presbytery or Synod leaders to ensure you are acting on accurate information about the nature and impact of the Assembly’s decision,” Dr Palmer said.
The Assembly General Secretary Colleen Geyer has written to all Uniting Church authorised celebrants notifying them of the additional liturgy, and the date from which it is authorised for use.
Resources including frequently asked questions are also available on the Assembly website.