An Open Letter to the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, the Right Reverend Andrew Norton:
We write to commend you in your leadership of our Church and thank you for your prayerful guidance at General Assembly 2014. We wish to thank you too for standing against the opinion of the majority in wanting the discussion pertaining to matters of leadership, marriage, and sexuality to be handled differently than in the past.
We also wish to encourage you to continue in the good work we saw you engaged in at General Assembly: promoting relationships and discussion in order that we may continue to be a broad church with a broad mission.
The decisions taken at General Assembly 2014 are however very disturbing for us. For the Community of St Luke to turn away couples who want to marry, based on their sexual identity, is somewhat akin to turning away left-handed people, or people of a minority race. For us to turn away sexual minorities is contrary to the heart of our theology, namely the love and embrace of God.
The decisions taken by General Assembly 2014 are deeply offensive to sexual minorities, deeply offensive to all those who are the parents, grandparents, partners, children, grandchildren, and Christian brothers and sisters of sexual minorities, and deeply offensive to all who believe on the basis of sound scholarship and experience that sexual diversity is a given to be accepted, welcomed and celebrated.
The decision of General Assembly concerning marriage is also contrary to the clear tradition of Presbyterianism regarding Liberty of Conscience, the clear guidance of our Doctrine Core Group, and the clear wishes of our elected national leaders, namely the Moderator and Moderator-Designate.
Those at General Assembly who supported that decision need to know that the Community of St Luke acknowledge their right to exercise Liberty of Conscience. However by denying us the same right, they have asked us to deny our fundamental theology pertaining to the very nature of God. This theology undergirds both our community life and mission.
Although we have great love for our Church, you need to know that we have not, will not, and cannot turn sexual minorities away. We will continue to welcome all people into our community, including all who are called into leadership, all who wish to be baptised, and all who wish to be married.
We can do no other and be true to our faith.
On behalf of the Parish Council of the Community of St Luke, Remuera.