Presbyterian parishioners concerned at fallout with Scotland
Despite the furore over the Presbyterian Church's controversial vote to deny gay people full membership, some worshippers in east Belfast last night were as concerned about the fall-out with their Scottish brethren.
The worshippers making their way to Gilnahirk Presbyterian Church, not far from Stormont, for last night's evening service were happy to share their views, although not to be photographed, and just two were prepared to share their names.
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Asked for her views on the same-sex marriage row, one elderly member of the congregation said as she approached the church gate: "Everybody to their own opinion.
"I believe in live and let live - that's it.
"That's all I can tell you," she said.
Churchgoer Grace Murphy was concerned about the Presbyterian Church in Ireland's breaking of the historic link with its Scottish counterpart over its more liberal stance on gay relationships.
"It's a pity that we have to be separated from the Scottish church - we should retain those links," she said.
Her view was echoed by another worshipper, who did not wish to give her name.
"I'm not happy that they've gone away from the church in Scotland. I think that's a step too far," she commented.
For Bob Hanna, the church's teaching was simply the right teaching.
"I subscribe to the church's view that marriage is a church institution and therefore is ordained by God," he said. "Therefore I subscribe fully to equality and civil partnerships, but not to same-sex marriage."