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Church Stand against Presbyterian Discrimination

- Media Release -

Church Stand against Presbyterian Discrimination


St Andrew’s on the Terrace Presbyterian Church is taking a stand against
previous Presbyterian General Assembly decisions to exclude gay and lesbian
people from leadership positions in the Presbyterian Church. On Tuesday
night (30 September, 7 pm), on the eve of the 2008 General Assembly, the
parish will hold a public screening of a new documentary, “For the Bible
Tells Me So.”

At a time when the issue of homosexuality is polarising the Church on an
unprecedented scale, this compassionate and insightful new documentary
focuses on some of those caught in the crossfire. Through the experiences of
five Christian families, it shows how insightful people of faith handle the
realization of having a gay child.

Informed by such respected voices as Bishop Desmond Tutu, the film also
provides a useful deconstruction of the arguments used to justify homophobia
by the church, and explains the cultural and historical context of the
biblical verses that are frequently misinterpreted as condemning
homosexuality.

The St Andrew’s screening will be followed by a panel discussion on the
impact of religious homophobia on families in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Panellists are Dr Mark Henrickson of Massey University, and author of the
Lavender Islands study on lesbian, gay, and bisexual New Zealanders;
Elizabeth Kerekere of Out There! Queer Youth Development Project; and Fraser
Paterson, Presbyterian Minister and daughter Robyn Paterson, New Zealand
Film Maker.

“We are concerned the religious homophobia continues to divide families and
forces gay and lesbian people to make a choice between their faith and their
sexuality,” says St Andrew’s minister Margaret Mayman. “On this occasion we
celebrate triumphs of the human spirit in the stories of people of faith who
love and include the breadth of God’s family. We are determined to continue
to be a vocal and visible presence in the Presbyterian Church, reminding our
denomination that such love is of God.”

St Andrew’s and a number of other Presbyterian Churches around New Zealand
have stated that they will not discriminate against gay and lesbian people,
and people in de facto relationships who were also covered in the exclusive
legislation, and will choose people for leadership based on their gifts and
their sense of call.

ends

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