The Seventh-day Adventist Church in Australia (AUC) has announced a special Sabbath of prayer and fasting on September 16 in light of the upcoming postal plebiscite on changing the definition of marriage.
Yesterday, the High Court dismissed a legal challenge to the postal vote. Ballots will now be sent out from next week.
“We believe that it is essential that the Church come together for special prayer over the outcome of this postal vote and for the potential consequences for our society,” AUC secretary Michael Worker said.
“One thing seems clear, regardless of the outcome of the vote, the discussion about marriage will not end there. There will be ongoing lobbying and discussion as the perceived and real consequences flow.”
"We are living in a time of significant social tension and upheaval as this debate continues, and this flows into the lives of our churches, schools and homes."
Pastor Worker said recent cases in the media have shown that there can be significant consequences for those in the public spotlight who have dared to speak up for the “No” campaign.
“We are living in a time of significant social tension and upheaval as this debate continues, and this flows into the lives of our churches, schools and homes. My prayer is that as Christians we can respectfully and tactfully discuss these matters, demonstrating the love of Christ to all whom we communicate with.”
Suggested prayer points include:
- That the debate is conducted with love and respect.
- Concern for people within the LGBT community whose wellbeing is negatively impacted by the debate.
- Concern that the Government is not willing to discuss any potential legislative changes until after the vote is taken.
- Concern that even though the Government’s own Senate select committee in February indicated that there is a need to provide protections for freedom of religion, there has been no legislative framework developed to protect freedom of conscience, thought and religion.
The result of the plebiscite will be announced on November 15 at 11.30am. Votes must be in by November 7.
A booklet and resources outlining the Adventist Church’s position on the debate are available online at https://adventist.org.au/marriage.