Presbyterian ministers warned about 'bringing Church into disrepute'
A senior figure in the Presbyterian Church has warned its ministers about their public comments following the recent controversy over same sex couples.
In a letter sent to all clergy, the Clerk of the General Assembly, the Rev Trevor Gribben said debate should primarily take place within the General Assembly - and cautioned ministers against making views public that might bring the church into disrepute.
He said: "Ministers and elders of the Church should ensure that by their public comments they do not bring the Church and its agencies into disrepute.
"Ministers and elders should also ensure that their public statements do not amount to contumacy or equate to an open declaration of their intention to take actions that would lead to defiance of or disobedience to the courts of the Church."
The Church has come under criticism from some members after it voted to deny full membership to people in same-sex relationships at the recent General Assembly.
Last night Alliance leader Naomi Long posted online: "Clearly, they were panicking that the controversy had died down and that a period of calm reflection might take hold. Pass the metaphorical petrol and matches..."
In a Facebook post, Lord Alderdice, asked if the Church would act against members opposing the ordination of women as "ruling elders" and "teaching elders (ministers)".