The only Presbyterian minister in Northern Ireland to publicly celebrate the Yes vote in Ireland’s Marriage Equality referendum has done an about-face on the subject following criticism from Church authorities.
Rev Christina Bradley, of Armagh Road Presbyterian Church, Portadown, described May’s referendum victory as “inclusive and compassionate”.
She said at the time: “This warm-heartedness is good to see in a world which often is a cold place as much for women in leadership as it is for gay and lesbian people in churches. I welcome the Yes vote,” reports Belfast Telegraph.
However, Bradley’s comments sparked an investigation by the Church’s commission.
On Sunday, September 19, the verdict of the investigation was read aloud in her church by the clerk of session.
“Mrs Bradley confirmed to Presbytery that she fully accepts the teaching of the Westminster Confession of Faith, that marriage is to be between one man and one woman,” said the statement.
“Mrs Bradley also confirms that same-sex marriage is contrary to the will of God revealed in the Bible and accepts that homosexual practice is sinful in God’s sight.”
Mrs Bradley also accepted that her welcoming of the same-sex referendum vote was “open to misinterpretation”, and said that she “had no intention of bringing the Church into disrepute”.
A spokesperson for the Church expressed relief that the matter had been “clarified” but Canon Charles Kenny, a Church of Ireland minister and spokesperson for Ireland’s gay affirming group, Faith in Marriage Equality, expressed disappointment that “the Presbyterian Church in Ireland was trying to shut down discussion in the Church on the inclusion of its gay and lesbian members”.
“The action of the Church will send a very damaging message to its gay members and make the Presbyterian Church in Ireland an even colder place for them and their families,” said Kenny in a statement.
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