Uniting Network (NSW/ACT) is a member organisation which works for safety and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people, their friends and families within the life of the Uniting Church in Australia. It links to the NSW Synod through the Board of Education.
You can email the Network at email@example.com or write to PO Box 98 Enmore NSW 2042.
Visit unitingnetworkaustralia.org.au for more information on the national network.
During 2000/2001 the Board held discussions with Network members, and clarified the Network’s link to the Board within the overall framework of the Uniting Church’s national policy on diversity. Within this framework the Board has welcomed ongoing links with Uniting Network, though there is mutual agreement that the Board does not necessarily endorse every statement or action of the Network.
Uniting Network sees its ministry in two main areas – Christian education and pastoral support. In this regard the Board has viewed the link as consistent with the Board’s work, particularly in adult faith development. In education, the Network provides resources and speakers for a range of Uniting Church groups, including congregations and the Centre for Ministry. Advocacy is seen to be a part of this ministry. The Network is clear that it advocates for full participation of LGBT people in the life of the Uniting Church.
In addition to education, the Network provides confidential pastoral support for LGBT people, its friends and families. Many people contact the Network in the context of distress, confusion and rejection. Referral to Uniting Church ministers, congregations and other agencies is often a part of this pastoral care.
Membership of the Uniting Network is open to all individuals, groups and congregations who support the full inclusion of LGBT people in the life of the Uniting Church. At its annual worship service and general meeting, members elect a NSW/ACT Committee and two convenors. In 2009, NSW/ACT Convenors are Jonathon Rea (0409 464 384, firstname.lastname@example.org) and Warren Talbot (0408 430 582, email@example.com)
One of the Network’s public activities is participation in the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian New Mardi Gras parade and Fair Day. It is recognised that there are diverse views in the Church about the parade. Uniting Network members see their participation in evangelical terms. They believe that involvement is a witness to the lesbian and gay communities, the wider community and the Church, stressing that there are no caveats when St John writes “For God so loved the world…” (John 3).
Recent activities have included:
- Staffed an information table during the four days at Synod.
- Maintained a display panel at the rear of Pitt Street.
- Staffed an information stall at the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Fair Day.
- Distributed a few hundred sets of our Rainbow Series – a very useful set resource materials on GLBT and the Church. A seventh in the series, on the subject of blessing same sex relationships is currently being prepared.
- Responded to telephone enquiries for pastoral support.
- Attended regular meetings of the Anti-Discrimination Board reference group on LGBTI issues.
- Produced three issues of Uniting Network Review.
- Met with the Synod General Secretary.
- Assisted with the organising and participated in two inter faith service held in Marrickville.
- Advertised regularly in the lesbian and gay press.
- Participated in meetings of Uniting Network Australia including the biennial “Daring”conferences.
- Conducted our annual lunch seminar for staff and students at the Uniting Theologic College.
With countless others, LGBT Christians cherish the words of St Paul that “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galations 3). The Uniting Network regards its ministry as obedience to the Crucified and Risen One who “has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us” (Ephesians 2). In working within the life of the Uniting Church, Network members affirm that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8).