The very name Civil Union would appear to indicate a recognition of a couple’s commitment that is recognised by the state but separated from the traditional ‘Church Wedding’ and indeed couples may choose a Civil Union to avoid any suggestion that the church may have been involved in solemnising their vows. However a Civil Union is the only way the law recognises a lifelong commitment of a gay or lesbian couple and as an inclusive congregation St Albans Uniting recognisees that gay and lesbian people can also hold strong Christian beliefs and such people may well want to celebrate their Civil Union in a Christian context. Therefore the present minister the Rev Hugh Perry is a registered Civil Union Celebrant so that St Albans Uniting is able to extend full ministry to the whole people of God. Hugh made a submission in support of the Civil Union Bill to the parliamentary select committee when the legislation was being considered and applied to be a Celebrant as soon as the law was passed.
As well as an inclusive congregation St. Albans Uniting aims to be Christ in the community with no strings attached therefore anyone is welcome to celebrate their Civil Union and make their vows at St Albans Uniting. The minister may also be available to lead your Civil Union service at some other location of your choosing.
The first step in planning a Civil Union at St Albans Uniting is to phone the minister at 03 385 7545 and arrange a meeting. The minister will want at least a two meetings to get to know the couple so that the service belongs to them and in giving options and suggestions for the format the minister will also encourage the couple to speak about their hopes and expectations for this most important event. The parish has information available on the legal requirements and guidance in preparing the service but the key focus will always be on a service that is relevant and owned by the couple and families involved.