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LGBT row Church of Ireland cleric hits back at 'structurally homophobic' claims

Cleric's comments come after Rev Andrew Rawding announced his resignation claiming 'homophobia' in the church

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Canon Ian M Ellis, former editor of the Church of Ireland Gazette defended the church against the claims made by Rev Rawding

Canon Ian M Ellis, former editor of the Church of Ireland Gazette defended the church against the claims made by Rev Rawding

Canon Ian M Ellis, former editor of the Church of Ireland Gazette defended the church against the claims made by Rev Rawding

A former Church of Ireland Gazette editor has hit back at claims that his church is "structurally, culturally and socially homophobic".

This comes after LGBTQ+ advocate Rev Andrew Rawding announced his resignation from his Church of Ireland position to his parish on Sunday Morning.

Rev Andrew Rawding has previously defended LGBT+ rights saying: “I have made a public stance in the past as a Church of Ireland rector to send a message to the LGBT+ community that it’s OK to be LGBT+ and to be a Christian and to show my full support for same-sex marriages within the Church of Ireland."

He told the BBC that his church was “structurally, culturally and socially homophobic”.

He added: “There are some kind and compassionate individuals but corporately, at best there is indifference, at worst there is hypocrisy.”

After speaking to his congregation about his LGBT+ outreach work the minister claimed that he “received blank looks or silence, or comments like, ‘I'm not homophobic because I know gay people’, or even, 'You need to be careful because people will think you're gay’.

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Rev Andrew Rawding claimed the Church of Ireland is “structurally, culturally and socially homophobic”

Rev Andrew Rawding claimed the Church of Ireland is “structurally, culturally and socially homophobic”

Rev Andrew Rawding claimed the Church of Ireland is “structurally, culturally and socially homophobic”

 

In response, Canon Ian Ellis has defended his church after Rev Rawding resigned from his position as rector of Brackaville, Donaghendry and Ballyclog but has appealed for Rev Rawding to reconsider his decision.

He told the News Letter: “How it is understood varies from negative feelings about homosexual people, to fear of them, to actual hatred. I don’t think the Church of Ireland falls into any of those categories.”

He also admitted that there are members of the Church of Ireland that have “hurt and wounded people” LGBT+ people and that this is “clearly wrong”.

He added: “The Church of Ireland has tried very sincerely to engage on the subject, and I know that great efforts have been made in that exercise.”

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Speaking of Rev Rawding, he argued: “His characterisation of the Church of Ireland as structurally, culturally and socially homophobic raises the question of what is meant by ‘homophobia’ as a term.”

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