Here’s our Moderator, Andrew Norton’s, take on what went on regarding the ‘debate’ on sexuality, leadership and marriage:
“Concerning our ongoing debate on sexuality related issues, General Assembly decided that ministers may conduct marriage only between a man and woman. A new rule, effective immediately, has been added to the Book of Order to further clarify the decision: “a minister may solemnise marriage only between a man and woman”.
Yet at the same time we witnessed another significant divide in the church. During the debate a significant proportion of the commissioners chose, as an act of silent protest, to surrender their votes and leave the debating chamber.
30% of commissioners chose not to vote. These people – from a range of theological positions – view the ongoing debate on sexuality as an act of division and one in which they no longer want to participate.
In spite of this, the Assembly chose to continue with the debate which resulted in adopting the regulation. While the Church has been very clear over the past years on its view on matters of leadership and sexuality and the nature of marriage, our Church is now further divided on our need to become legislative which will inevitability move this debate from conversation into the disciplinary courts of the Church.
The current piece of regulation goes to the Church for further discussion over the next two years to become ratified at our next General Assembly. While I urge the church to abide by and respect the decision of Assembly, I encourage you to also seek further opportunities to engage in conversation about what kind of church we want to become in the future. How will we choose to live together in the love of Christ? How will we choose to use power through our voting system that continues to marginalise many with our own family and wider community?”