Webteam: January 2019
You may have read, or heard about, the dreadful incident of homophobia which was perpetrated in the name of the Methodist Church and which has been reported in the local media. The Rev Dr Andrew Lunn, Chair of the Manchester and Stockport District, and the Rev Clare Stainsby, Superintendent of the Salford Circuit, have issued the following statement.
We were very disturbed to read in the Manchester Evening News of a homophobic card sent on Christmas Eve to a lesbian couple, signed 'Methodist Church'.
Our first thoughts are for the couple concerned, to whom we express our sympathy and support. Any such homophobic incident causes hurt and offense, and we are very sorry that this has happened. We hope the couple are receiving good support from friends, family and community. We offer our own regret and apology that this was purportedly done in the name of the church.
The fact that this homophobia was expressed in the name of the Methodist Church is something we must address. Our definition of homophobia clearly states: 'Homophobic attitudes, words, and behaviours are inconsistent with the nature of Christian conduct and a violation of the worth and dignity of all people.' The Methodist Church stands against homophobia, and includes within that any use of 'language that is hostile, hurtful or offensive'. We say unequivocally that the person who sent this card does not represent the Methodist Church.
The person who sent this card may be a member of the Methodist Church. If it became possible to identify who they were, and that they were a member of the church, their action in sending the card would be taken seriously. We would use our formal complaint process to challenge their homophobic actions.
The Methodist Church continues to work with issues about human sexuality and relationships. There are many different views held by members and ministers. We have many Methodist members who would also identify as LGBT+. Our desire is for a church which is fully inclusive, which recognises that all humankind, regardless of gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, is made in God's image, and therefore worthy of dignity and respect.
Andrew Lunn, Chair of the Manchester & Stockport Methodist District
Clare Stainsby, Superintendent Minister of the Salford Circuit of the Methodist Church.
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