Minister to speak at conference
The Presbyterian Church has moved to distance itself from a gay Pride conference in Mid Ulster which one of its ministers is attending.
Rev Cheryl Meban, a Presbyterian Chaplain at Ulster University, is due to speak at a conference organised by Mid Ulster Pride in Cookstown in April.
She will be joined by Professor Laurence Kirkpatrick, who was dismissed from the church's Theological Training College in Belfast in 2018 after saying he would be "horrified" if a student at the college was taught that a same-sex marriage was sinful.
A spokesperson for the Presbyterian Church said: "As a church we continue to affirm that all people are loved, valued and cherished by God. To love someone in Christ does not mean you have to agree with their lifestyle, or point of view.
"For example, PCI’s (Presbyterian Church in Ireland) biblically faithful position that marriage is between one man and one woman, is well known.
"With little knowledge of the event, the format, or topics that the speakers will be addressing, it would be difficult to comment further. Dr Kirkpatrick is no longer a minister in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and no longer holds a professorial chair at Union Theological College.
"We would assume that Rev Cheryl Meban, who is one of our ministers, will be speaking in a personal capacity."
Rev Meban, speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last week, explained why she was attending the event.
"As a chaplain, I meet people from all walks of life, with all kinds of experience. I want them to know that God knows them and loves them - and that's why I want to be involved in this event," she said.
"The Gospel is for everybody - not just for people who conveniently fit our ideas of what's normal.
"We are all made in God's image."
Mid Ulster Pride has also organised a pride parade in Cookstown on June 13. It is billed as being the first of its kind in a rural area of Northern Ireland.