Presbyterian Church in Ireland Clergyman Resigns
Does Not Agree with Denomination’s Stance on Same-Sex Relationships
The Revd Ian Carton, of Whitehead Presbyterian Church (PCI) in Co Antrim, Northern Ireland has announced his resignation. It is thought to be that he is the first cleric in his denomination to do so over its stance against full membership to anyone in a same-sex relationship.
In 2018, the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) voted to deny full membership to anyone in a same-sex relationship as well as to not baptise the children their children.
Revd Carton told his congregation on Trinity Sunday it was “excluding people we’d like to welcome” and after much prayer, he felt he and his wife had to leave”.He continued; “The decisions taken by our denomination mean that they can never belong and that’s a hard thing to have to say to anybody. I’ve tried to keep going but it’s become a bit like trying to ride two horses at the same time that are going in two different directions”.
Andrew Rawding, a Church of Ireland cleric originally from England and who also campaigns in favour of LGBT issues, told the Belfast News Letter; “Sadly I’ve seen other Presbyterian ministers back pedal on the LGBT issue when it got too hot”. He continued, “I’m not currently aware of any others willing to put their heads above the parapet”.
Rawding did acknowledge that the Church of Ireland has a similar position on same sex relationships. The Church of Ireland, however, does not canonically exclude children of people in such relationships from baptism.