Controversy over Diocesan funding of the “no” Campaign

Some of our members have expressed to me their concerns, or upset, over the Diocese spending $1 million supporting the Coalition for Marriage.   I can understand the surprise & upset.  The first I and most Synod members knew about this funding was this week at Synod.  The money spent was not money contributed by churches, but produced by the Diocesan investments.  No money that you or I put in the plate at Gymea Church was spent.

However, this group is not connected to any political party, and its opposition to same sex marriage is simply consistent with the Bible’s teaching and the expressed view of our Diocese.  The Marriage Coalition is an association of 35+ churches and group (no political parties) including: Sydney Chinese Christian Churches, Australian Christian Lobby, Australian Baptist Ministries, C3 Churches, Canberra Declaration, Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, Christian Schools Australia, Christian Reformed Churches of Australia, CRC Churches, Greek Orthodox, & Focus on the Family.

I encourage you to carefully consider our Archbishop’s letter that I have emailed to our members this week via Elvanto & also placed on our website.  Glenn is very approachable.  He’ll be with us next week and so if you have questions or concerns you’d like to raise with him about this I’d encourage you to do so respectfully.

I will say personally about the postal survey, I believe it’s a loving thing to do and following in Jesus’ footsteps to sensitively, rationally encourage others to say no to legalising same sex marriage.  Jesus didn’t just speak to his society only about the forgiveness of sins.  He knew that living God’s way was not only right for people, but good for them.  So he spoke often about the rights and wrongs of marriage, as did John the Baptist—in both cases they were unpopular because of it.  But they spoke because they loved people.  We Christians are not a “one trick pony”.  Jesus died on the cross to forgive you is not our only message.  We are called on to speak out all al sorts of issues of social welfare and social justice including gambling, foreign policy, refugees, domestic violence, child abuse, fair work and safety.  Christians were at the forefront of the early union movement, child labour & slavery abolition, animal protection & public education to name a few.  If you read the Archbishop’s letter you will hear of many other reasons why speaking respectfully, passionately & lovingly to our society on this issue is following in the footsteps of Jesus. I understand that some of our members will take a different view and I’d be very glad to listen to it.  I’m glad to hear other opinions and views …  and benefit from them  –  usually.

Having said all this there is the question of process & communication.  I feel like I’ve been kept in the dark about this.  The decision was made by the Diocesan equivalent of Parish Council, an elected executive of Synod made up of approx. 40 men and women.  We won’t always agree with how or what our elected leaders do but I have high respect for them and have been convicted that I should pray for them more regularly.

Yours in Christ, Graham