Same gender couples can now get married in two Bendigo churches after an announcement made on Sunday morning.
Minister at Forest Street and St Andrew’s Uniting churches Reverend Di Esbensen announced the change to her congregation in a service on Sunday morning.
The announcement follows a decision in July by an assembly of Uniting Churches in Australia to recognise marriage “between two people”, as well as between a man and a woman.
The move allows ministers and celebrants authorised by the Uniting Church freedom to choose to conduct or refuse to conduct same gender marriages.
Church Councils have the right to determine whether marriage services take place on their premises.
Reverend Esbensen said that the councils at both churches had agreed unanimously to allow marriage in their buildings.
She said her support for same sex marriage stemmed from a belief in inclusion and justice.
“People have been excluded legally in this country from marriage,” Reverend Esbensen said.
“I think the church has advocated for the inclusion of everybody for quite a long time, and this is a chance for the church to respond to it by opening its doors to have weddings for everyone.
“It’s been a journey, particularly for the LGBTIQ community… for them there is an incredible sense of celebration and relief that the church can include them now.”
St Andrews’ Uniting Church in Axedale will also be open to same sex couples to wed.
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