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Ministers sign open letter slamming Ireland Presbyterian Church’s same-sex ruling

July 6, 2018

(presbyterianireland.org)

More than 200 ministers and members of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland have signed a statement yesterday criticising a General Assembly ruling last month on same-sex marriage.

The open letter, called ‘A Cry from the Heart’, expresses its “hurt dismay and anger” at the General Assembly’s decision not to recognise people in same-sex marriages as full members of the Church.

It also means that the children of same-sex couples cannot be baptised in the Church, reported the Belfast Telegraph.

Church House in Belfast, Northern Ireland is the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. (Creative Commons photo/Flickr user William Murphy)

The open letter criticises the decision, saying: “This level of feeling is unprecedented in our pastoral experience.”

“We are committed to doing all we can to ensure that the decisions which have prompted such a level of concern will be subject to the urgent attention they deserve, and for which many in the Church are calling.”

It goes on to criticise the “unnecessary narrowing of the range of acceptable theological perspectives within the Presbyterian Church” saying it will “damage our credibility and limit our future.”

The ruling also means that the Church will not send its moderator to the Church of Scotland’s general assembly because of the Scottish Church’s more liberal views on same-sex relationships.

Church House in Belfast, Northern Ireland is the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. (Creative Commons photo/Flickr user William Murphy)

The furore follows warnings from the Church’s Clerk of the Assembly, Rev Trevor Gribben, telling members not to bring the Church into disrepute by speaking out against its policies.

Among the signatories of the critical letter are Rev David Latimer of First Derry Presbyterian Church, former moderator Rev Ken Newell, the former clerk of the general assembly Dr Donald Watts and the church’s first female minister, Rev Ruth Patterson.

More: Europe, Ireland

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