Daring Statement 2012

Daring Statement 2012

Adelaide June 8 – 11

Greetings to the Church from the 2012 biennial Gathering of the Uniting Network which brings together a diverse group of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, and queer (GLBTIQ) people, their families and friends from across the Uniting Church in Australia. The theme at this year’s gathering was “Daring to be family” which we explored through worship, theological reflection, prayer and sharing our stories and experiences of family.

We affirm the significance of family in our lives and in society as a whole. We cherish our families of origin, the new families we are creating and our place in the family of God. We celebrate in particular the children, siblings, parents, and the young people who make up our diverse rainbow families.

We affirm the family values of mutual love and commitment, care, compassion, generosity, forgiveness, integrity, respect, equality, safety, trust and the joy of being together. We have experienced joy where the church has celebrated and blessed our relationships. We grieve that these family values are not always shared with us in the life of the church. This hurts us deeply. We want to truly belong to the life of the church. We delight in our rainbow families and challenge the whole church to join in celebrating the diversity of our community and to truly include every person.

We believe in the sacredness of marriage. Marriage is a dynamic concept which has evolved over time to its present form as a partnership based on love and commitment. This describes the loving and committed relationships of GLBTIQ people. We experience joy when our relationships have been honoured and blessed. This is not a cause for fear but for celebration, that GLBTIQ people, like you, want to take on the joys and responsibilities of marriage. We firmly believe that everyone who loves is from God, born of God and loves God (1 John 4:12).

We are acutely aware of and grieve the pain and rejection that continues to be experienced by gay clergy, lay and youth leaders in the church they serve. When one person is hurt we all experience that hurt as a wider community. We grieve for those who have left the church due to the judgemental attitudes towards and mistreatment of GLBTIQ members. Some turning their backs on the church forever as these wounds are often too deep to heal.

We grieve for young gay people who experience despair when they hear messages of judgment and rejection from the church to which they belong. Our young people say to you – we love the church and want an equal place and our voices heard, with openness and integrity. We have gifts to offer and dreams and visions to share. So let us talk together with mutual respect, humbly trusting in God. Please stop telling us that you love the sinner and hate the sin. We faithfully believe our loving relationships are not sin. “What we need from the church is that it stops telling us who we are, what our state of grace or gracelessness is, and how to live our lives as queer people, in families or as single people. What we need is that the churches stop regarding us as a problem to be resolved with appeals to scripture and tradition, but as people whose lived experience makes up and contributes to the body of Christ.” Rev. Dr. Margaret Mayman

We grieve for our older generations of GLTBIQ people who have served the church all their lives in spite of hearing these messages of judgment. We celebrate their faithfulness as they continue to love and serve the church family.

At this Daring Gathering we have celebrated the joy of being God’s people, the joy of being God’s rainbow family within the Uniting Church. We pray that the church will share our joy so that together we may truly be one great family in God.

June 2012