Tuesday 7 October 2014, 6:30 pm
Press Release: St Andrew’s on The Terrace
Media Statement: Presbyterian Church Decision
St Andrew’s on The Terrace Presbyterian Church (Wellington) is deeply disappointed but defiant in the face of the news today that the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church has voted to ban Ministers from performing marriages between same-sex couples.
“This decision is deeply disturbing and we strongly dissent from it” says St Andrew’s Parish Convenor, Sonia Groes-Petrie. “The Presbyterian tradition is for ministers to have freedom to make decisions about whom they will marry. There is a range of opinions on same-sex marriage within the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand and today’s decision does not reflect that diversity.”
Interim Minister Jim Cunningham says “I’m appalled at the decision that has been made. We see sexual orientation and gender identity as irrelevant in the celebration of a couple’s union. It is the quality of the relationship, the love and commitment that matters. St Andrew’s has been blessing the relationships of same sex couples for over twenty years, celebrating civil unions since 2005 and marriages since August last year.”
The national church has been debating the implications of same-sex marriages now being legal.
“It seems incredible that the church is legislating against love. It’s embarrassing that religious organisations are the only stumbling block to full equality for same-sex couples” says St Andrew’s Parish Councillor and General Assembly representative Paul Barber.
In the wake of this decision, St Andrew’s on The Terrace restated their commitment to be an inclusive church, faithful to the gospel message of love and justice. “We have Ministers within our community who are registered as civil celebrants and we will continue to be able to provide a welcoming place for any couple who wishes to marry. Inclusiveness is of vital importance in the mission of our faith community. We will continue to work towards our vision for our national church where diversity is celebrated and where no-one is excluded.”
A former paediatric nurse, Leanne was ordained in May 1999. She has been a parish minister (St Stephen’s, Hamilton South) and an aged care chaplain (Presbyterian Support Central, Wellington). Since early 2006 following the birth of her daughter she has worked from home filling in for colleagues when asked. She is married to Dugald. Leanne enjoys friends, family, the wild Wellington coast, a good book, music (all sorts), playing the piano and singing.
Leanne can be reached on 04 976 3331 or using the contact form below.
Norman has been an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church since 1957. He has worked as a parish minister and a chaplain for the army, prisons and industries. Now he serves as a celebrant in Wellington.
You can find out more on his website.
Norman can be contacted on 04 971 5888 or by using the contact form below.
St Andrew’s on The Terrace is a progressive Presbyterian congregation in the heart of Wellington.
St Andrew’s was declared an Inclusive Church on 8th December 1991, welcoming all people of every creed, race, class and sexual orientation.
Members of St Andrew’s were active in campaigning for marriage equality.
St Andrew’s on the Terrace is a spirit-centered community of people who seek to care for one another, for the city in which we live, and for the earth and its creatures. Shaped by the inclusive vision of the Christian tradition, we honour our heritage and engage with the realities of our contemporary context.
The church is a beautiful historic building in the English Baroque style of ecclesiastical architecture.
St Andrew’s is available as a venue for same-sex weddings.
Ph 04 472 9211
30 The Terrace
Sharon is an ordained Presbyterian minister who lives in Wellington. She is available to conduct same-sex weddings.
Sharon can be contacted on 027 810 4358.
Jim is a Presbyterian minister and great story teller. He lives in Wellington and is an Honorary Associate minister at St Andrew’s on The Terrace. Jim works with couples to create a significant and meaningful ceremony that helps them celebrate their love and commitment to one another.
Jim can be contacted on 04 9734342 or 027 680 1159.
Margaret is a lesbian Presbyterian minister and a prominent campaigner for marriage equality.
Updated: Sadly for New Zealand, Margaret is now the minister at Pitt St Uniting Church in Sydney. No doubt she is looking forward to conducting same-sex marriages when Australia makes that possible.