Belfast Church Denies Hosting Gay Conversion Therapy Event

An evangelical alliance led event is scheduled to host a church workshop on March 8 which is aimed at homosexuals who wish to live a "celibate and Christian" life.


A church is east Belfast has shut down suggestions that it is hosting a gay conversion therapy event next week aimed at “curing” LGBT+ people, saying that their intention is to help LGBT+ individuals remain celibate and Christian.

The event, entitled ‘Is Your Church Biblically Inclusive?”, is scheduled to take place on March 8, in Willowfield Parish Church on My Lady’s Road.

It is an evangelical alliance led event which is aimed at those who are, or want to be, a committed Christian but identify as homosexual.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that an advertisement for the course states: “The Living Out Course is designed to help church leaders to understand how they can help those who experience same-sex attraction to stay faithful to biblical teaching and flourish at the same time.”

Church rector David McClay made a statement this week saying that the course was not a “gay therapy course” and that due to the “misinformation” he and his family had been subjected to abusive phone calls and social media posts.

“We have gay people in our congregation every Sunday. We have been totally misrepresented by what has been posted on social media,” he said.

Mr McClay also stressed that next week’s event is not one that advocates so-called conversion therapy for gay people.

“Same-sex attracted people will be sharing their stories in order to help them become disciple-like and maintain living a celibate life,” he said. “It’s to help people of all ages who are seeking to be Christian.

“I understand that some people are angry because they have been given the wrong information. I totally refute that we are involved in conversion therapy, nor do the EA (Evangelical Alliance) ever run courses like that. The course is designed to better support people in this situation.

“We are not running a course to ‘cure queers’, as was said to me in an abusive message.”


Behind The Times

However, Lurgan-born gay actor and singer Conleth Kane said: “This is so dangerous and sends out the totally wrong message to people.

“Look at the levels of suicide because of people’s guilt over their sexuality. It’s saying that being gay is wrong and that people ‘should turn to the light’, as it were.

“It’s such a dangerous thing to promote to vulnerable young people from the LGBT community, and for me again shows how far behind Northern Ireland is in terms of equality.”

The event came to light after a nearby business, Willowfield Funeral Home, received phone calls asking if it was hosting a ‘gay therapy’ course. Its director Stephen Barr said the event had nothing to do with his business.

“We received phone calls last week calling us homophobes,” he said. “We explained that we were not hosting any course and that we are a small business who have the support of and do support everyone in the community. The names of both places are similar so we can understand how people got mixed up.”

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