The postal vote is dominating the airwaves, and so many conversations in homes and workplaces, and in places where people gather. The person installing the NBN (finally!) in our home this week said he thinks he’ll vote no just ‘to show them’ (inferred hostility evident towards those who identify as LGBTQI). Meanwhile, I’m still waiting for my postal vote papers to arrive!
The Moderator of the Uniting Church in South Australia, Rev Sue Ellis, has prepared a pastoral note to go out to congregations:
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
As papers begin to arrive for the Marriage Law Postal Survey, many members of our Uniting Church congregations and faith communities will be engaging in conversations about marriage – within our families, our circles of friends, our churches, and in the wider community.
While we have these discussions, I encourage each of you to remember that, as Christians, we are called to be salt and light in the community. We are to be instruments of the Holy Spirit and model how people should relate to one another in every arena of life.
As Moderator, I want to honour all people in the life of the Uniting Church. I echo the sentiments of Uniting Church President Stuart McMillan, who has urged church members to listen to one another and maintain respectful conversations on the topic of same-sex marriage, particularly where cultural understandings differ. (Read Stuart’s latest statement here and previous statement here.)
As a civil matter, the plebiscite provides an opportunity for every member across the breadth of the Uniting Church to place a vote based on personal reflections and convictions. The upcoming Presbytery & Synod meeting in November and the 15th Assembly meeting in 2018 will allow space to engage in conversations about marriage as the body of the Church. Whether or not the Marriage Act is changed, the Uniting Church will continue to anchor these conversations in grace, respect and love.
I encourage Uniting Church members, the people of God, to look to Jesus throughout this process.
“May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Romans 15:5-6
Rev Dr Amelia Koh-Butler has prepared some prayers in this season of the postal vote that may be helpful including this one (the prayers are posted on Amelia’s blogsite):
We pray especially for those who are confused or confounded.
We pray for those who do not know how to behave well or find their reference.
We pray for Wisdom to touch people’s hearts and souls.
We pray for clarity of thinking, of speech and of your mercy.
We pray your blessing on those who are struggling most.
Come – Holy Spirit – Come!