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“The minister and church council have caused scandal injurious to the purity and peace of the Church.”

The BBC broke the story of how the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (an all-Ireland jurisdiction) has taken a firm stance against a Sandymount, Dublin Presbyterian congregation and clergywoman for allowing a practicing homosexual in a same-sex marriage to serve as an Elder within the church.

In October of 2019, the Dublin and Munster Presbytery had disallowed Mr Steve Smyrl to continue serving as an elder within the Christ Church, Sandymount congregation.  The parish is a joint work between the PCI and the Methodist Church in Ireland. The Dublin and Munster Presbytery discovered that after Mr Smyrl had been removed as an Elder in the PCI, he had been co-opted onto the Church Council by the Methodists.

According to the BBC, a “Par 161 Commission” was formed to investigate the PCI Teaching Elder, Dr Katherine Meyer who is the pastor for the congregation.  The Commission determined the “words and actions of both minister and church council demonstrate their persistent deviation from the confessional standards of the Presbyterian Church.”

The report quoted from the Presbytery’s findings.

“Paul instructs the church in Corinth not to associate with sexually immoral people if they bear the name of brother.  In contrast, however, both the minister and church councillor Christ Church, Sandymount, have supported the homosexual relationship of two of its members over many years.  The minister and church council have cause scandal injurious to the purity and peace of the Church.”

In light of the Commission’s findings, the Presbytery told the church council to reverse the decision of co-opting Smyrl onto the church council or it would “initiate disciplinary proceedings against Dr Meyer.”

A spokesman for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland told the BBC, that it was “highly disappointing that an individual, or individuals, has sought to go out of their way to comment to a journalist on a sensitive internal church matter and, we are led to believe, even pass on papers that are private to that process. While some issues have been considered, matters are still ongoing and further decisions are still to be made,” they said.”

The former Elder, Mr Smyrl, told the BBC NI, ”The Dublin presbytery has charged our minister, Rev Katherine Meyer, with supporting and endorsing me in a ‘sexually immoral’ relationship. Yet despite being challenged they have failed to produce even a shred of evidence that I have been involved in any form of sexual immorality or indeed sexual activity of any kind.

“Their aim is to squash dissent and to attack and remove anyone who voices even a modicum of support or empathy.

“Unless reason and fairness prevail, this sorry affair can only end in a grave injustice against a blameless pastor and teacher.”

Mr Smyrl’s protestations overlook numerous biblical passages that prohibit same-sex relationships.