DECISION: Same sex unions

Dit wat hieronder gepubliseer word, is nie 'n nuusberig deur die Kerkbode-redaksie nie. Dit is ’n amptelike skrywe van die NG Kerk se Algemene Sinode. Dit word volledig in hierdie afdeling van Kerkbode se webwerf gepubliseer vir die rekord en ter wille van lidmate se vrye toegang tot amptelike inligting in die kerk. - Redakteur: Kerkbode.

TAKE NOTE: Also read the press release that has been issued during the 2019 General Synod.

Same sex unions

1. The General Synod acknowledges that differences in the church regarding our use and interpretation of Scripture have led to an impasse, and that continued reflection regarding the responsible interpretation of Scripture is still needed.

2. The General Synod, however, confesses that the unity of the church is based on its unity with Christ and on its confessional basis, and that this unity is not abated by differences in how Scripture is used and interpreted regarding this matter, but is enriched and deepened.

3. The General Synod is committed to a continuous and humble attempt to listen to one another, with respect for one another’s approaches, use of Scripture, and hermeneutics.

4. The General Synod encourages congregations to continue to create healthy spaces for dialogue and discernment on these (and other) theological-ethical issues, and to ensure that:

4.1 these spaces remain inclusive and diverse;

4.2 these conversations are not about others, but that one speaks with honesty and vulnerability from one’s own position; and

4.3 the Word of God is taken seriously.

5. The General Synod respects the right of local church councils to engage in conversations of discernment in their own contexts and encourages church councils to make considerate and responsible decisions.

6. The General Synod encourages church councils to, with the appointment of persons in the offices, take into consideration members’:

6.1 baptism, confession, calling, spirituality, and witness concerning beliefs and practices,

6.2 access to the sacraments,

6.3 integrity of relationships, and

6.4 suitability for the specific role,

6.5 regardless of race, gender, class or sexual orientation and identity.

7. In the licensing of theological students, take into consideration the candidate’s:

7.1 baptism, confession, calling, spirituality, and witness concerning beliefs and practices,

7.2 access to the sacraments,

7.3 integrity of relationships, and

7.4 theological and ministry formation, regardless of race, gender, class or sexual orientation and identity.

8. General Synod acknowledges that there are:

8.1 church councils and ministers who do not carry the conviction to confirm civil unions between persons of the same sex with integrity,

8.2 as well as church councils and ministers who do carry the conviction to confirm civil unions between persons of the same sex with integrity.

9. The General Synod affirms the space created for all to act according to their convictions. The General Synod also decides that a team be set up that will visit each regional synod to work through this matter clearly and thoroughly. This can help us to make an informed decision.

10. The General Synod requests ATLAS to develop a form for confirming civil unions between persons of the same sex.

11. The General Synod:

11.1 regrets that in recent years the debate and decisions in the church have confused and hurt members;

11.2 expressly apologises to gay members and their families, whose dignity has been knowingly and unknowingly denied, for the pain that they have experienced in the church;

11.3 commits itself to creating spaces in the spirit of this decision for discussion in which everyone’s human dignity is respected.

11.4 thanks gay members who have persisted in bold and constructive conversations in the church.

12. The General Synod requests ATLAS to continue its study of marriage and human sexuality and to report its findings at the following synod.

This translation was updated after publication.

TAKE NOTE: Also read the press release that has been issued during the 2019 General Synod.