The National Assembly of the Uniting Church in Australia affirmed in July 2003 that presbyteries should appoint ministers on a case-by-case basis, thus allowing the potential appointment of practising homosexuals as ministers. The decision has provoked controversy within the Uniting Church. In November 2003 the Assembly Standing Committee acknowledged that while the polity of the Church leaves the question of ordination to presbyteries, it is clear that many want the matter to be addressed by the Assembly itself. The ASC has set up a process that will seek responses from councils and congregations and establish a year-long period of Biblical and theological study in order to prepare a report prior to the 2006 Assembly.
Random samples of church attenders were asked in both the 1996 and 2001 National Church Life Surveys for their views on the appointment of homosexuals to leadership positions in the church.
The following report outlines the responses of Uniting Church attenders to this question and how their responses have changed between the two surveys. Attenders were also asked about the acceptance of homosexuals as church members in both surveys. Results for this question highlight that attenders hold very different views on the two issues.
Authors: John Bellamy, Keith Castle, Ruth Powell
Bellamy, J, Castle, K & Powell, R, (2004) Homosexuality and Church Leadership – the views of Uniting Church attenders. NCLS Research Occasional Paper 02. Sydney: NCLS Research.