I’m excited to share with you that a new network of evangelical leaders, congregations and agencies in the Uniting Church has been established – Catalyst Network. Catalyst seeks to be a renewing movement with an emphasis on church planting and revitalization, evangelism and leadership development. But more on that in a bit. Let me remind you of the context in which Catalyst has been established.
In July 2018, the 15th Assembly of the Uniting Church decided to allow congregations to marry same-gender couples, should they choose. Leading up to and since that decision Newlife has prayerfully engaged in how we should respond to this decision, especially given it contradicted with our long-held position on marriage. This culminated in a meeting of our congregation in early September where we made a series of decisions (including to change our name to Newlife Church).
Since September, various state and regional bodies (synods and presbyteries) have met to consider proposals that would invoke a constitutional challenge to suspend the decision of the Assembly, requiring it to consult further with the church before reconsidering the matter. We enthusiastically supported this challenge. However, the challenge just fell short of the required support, which means the decision of the Assembly stands.
Which leads me back again to the formation of Catalyst Network.
One of the decisions we made last December was, ‘consistent with the paper ‘Standing Firm by Stepping Aside – 22.07.18’, joins a new national network of congregations and leaders, with the view to forming non-geographic presbyteries.’
Catalyst is that network, and a few weeks ago we issued a public invitation to congregations, agencies and leaders to become members. Newlife is a founding member of Catalyst and I am the chairperson of the steering committee that will formally establish the network as a separately incorporated body later this year. I invite you to read the Catalyst Network Overview and Invitation documents to gain a deeper appreciation for the vision, values and statement of belief of Catalyst. Catalyst seeks to a be a biblically faithful, evangelistically passionate renewing movement within the Uniting Church.
Catalyst has a clear and unambiguous position that ‘we believe we are called to celibacy in singleness and loving faithfulness between a man and woman in marriage.’
It is early days for Catalyst. There is a great deal of interest from congregations and leaders across the nation actively considering joining Catalyst. There is a lot of prayer, planning and preparing of the ground we need to do in formally establishing Catalyst as a legal entity. There are sometimes difficult conversations to be had with denominational leaders. In all of this, I and we ask for your prayers.
Please do not hesitate to contact me should you have any questions about any and all I have shared about. You can email me at [email protected].