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Boycott is in sharp contrast to views of new Moderator

By Alf McCreary

Published 11/06/2015

The Rt Rev Dr Ian McNie
The Rt Rev Dr Ian McNie

There had been rumours at the start of the Presbyterian General Assembly that a group of delegates would push a vote to ensure that a representative would not be sent to next year's General Assembly in Scotland.

This was because the Scots have decided to ordain ministers in same-sex relationships, which the Irish Presbyterians deeply oppose.

Normally the vote to send an Irish representative to the Scottish Assembly is taken on the nod, because of the long and friendly relationship between both Churches.

However, on this occasion the anti-gay lobby seized the opportunity to make their point.

The decision not to send a representative was passed by only 15 votes - 99 votes to 84, but it showed the strength of feeling on the subject.

However, this boycott may not affect an invitation to the Scottish Church to send someone to Belfast next year - so the implied snub to the Scots by not sending someone to Edinburgh appears irrational.

It is thought the Armagh Presbytery will form a commission to question the Reverend Christina Bradley from Portadown.

This comes after her support for same-sex marriage, which is contrary to Presbyterian teaching.

They have a right to do so, but this decision, allied to the vote to boycott the Scottish Assembly, is in sharp contrast to the views of the Irish Moderator Dr Ian McNie, who appealed for more understanding of the Church's views. He told the General Assembly: "Tolerance is a two-way street." Others can now make the point that the Church cannot have it both ways."

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