Presbyterian Church Will Not Baptise Children Of Same-Sex Couples

The matter was decided upon on Friday June 8th, at the Church's General Assembly in Belfast.

A baby being baptised, a service that will not be available to the children of same-sex couples in the Presbyterian Church

The Presbyterian Church of Ireland have announced that they will no longer recognise same-sex couples as members of the Church, and will not baptise their children.  These new policies were released following a presentation of a report by the Church’s doctrine committee at their annual General Assembly last week. The doctrine in question stated;

“in the light of our understanding of scripture and the Church’s understanding of a credible profession of faith it is clear that same sex couples are not eligible for communicant membership nor are they qualified to receive baptism for their children.”

Attended by approximately 1,000 ministers and elders from the Church’s 500-plus congregations across Ireland, the General Assembly is an opportunity for the Church to decide upon the direction for the life and ministry of the Church over the coming year and beyond. The new policy also states that “homosexual activity is not consistent with Christian discipleship since it does not accord with the will of God expressed in his moral law”.


Delegates congregate at this year’s General Assembly in Belfast

It goes on to say that the church the homosexual lifestyle and conduct and is “at variance with a life of obedience to Christ”. A representative of the Church Mark Smith has stated that, despite the policy, the Church is “not denying anyone communion, or attending worship or access to pastoral care, but rather defining what it means to be of a credible profession of faith”.

Smith has gone on to say that “The Church has had a consistent and clear position on homosexuality for years and it is our understanding that it is not the will of God, but we do not want to deny anyone from worshipping God or partaking in Church services.”

The news comes following the decision of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland to distance themselves from the Church of Scotland last week. The Church of Scotland recently announced that they would be drafting new legislation to allow the marriage of same-sex couples by a minister. It has since been decided that the head of the Church of Scotland will no longer be invited to the annual General Assembly.

A number of other policies were agreed upon over the course of the week-long assembly, including the Church’s oppositional stance on assisted suicide and/or euthanasia. The Church will also continue to call on the Irish government not to permit abortion in the state-excluding exceptional cases.

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