Cleric who hailed Ireland's same-sex vote does a U-turn
The only Presbyterian minister in Ireland who publicly welcomed the Yes vote in the Republic's same-sex marriage referendum has now accepted the Westminster Confession of Faith's position that "marriage must be between one man and one woman" - and that "homosexual practice is sinful".
Rev Christina Bradley, who ministers at Armagh Road Presbyterian Church in Portadown, is well-known in Church circles as an independent, strong-minded free-thinker.
After the referendum in May, when 62% voted yes to same-sex marriage, Rev Bradley described the result 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."
Her words sparked a special Presbyterian commission to investigate her views.
The commission's verdict was read out in her church on Sunday by the clerk of session while Rev Bradley looked on.
The statement said: "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".
"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".
Yesterday a spokesperson for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland said it was pleased that the matter had been "clarified".
"In any given situation, the Church always seeks to understand what has been said, or done, in an attempt to gain perspective on any particular matter.
"While this has been an internal issue for the Presbytery of Armagh, it is good to see that matters have been clarified and that the Presbytery have been able to confirm that the Rev Christina Bradley is in agreement with the biblical position held by the Presbyterian Church in Ireland in relation to marriage."
German-born Rev Bradley could not be reached for comment last night.