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Christian charity defends school evangelism leaflet

The leaflet, which was created by Hope for Youth Ministries (HFYM) and taken home by pupils at Lisnaharragh Primary in Belfast, featured a prayer and quoted Acts 16:31 which says, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved."

Colin Tinsley from HRYM told the Belfast Telegraph: "Having engaged with thousands of young people throughout Northern Ireland, I would be so annoyed if anyone felt our approach was anything other than loving and caring. We simply present the gospel of Jesus Christ."

HFYM has visited 250 schools across Northern Ireland where it distributes Bibles and literature, and also holds 'Fun Weeks' which can attract up to 120 children.

The group's leaflet distributed at Lisnasharragh Primary read: "If you want to get saved and ask the Lord Jesus into your heart, here is a prayer that will do that.

"Remember, saying the prayer won't save you. You must really mean what you say with all your heart."

Lisnasharragh Primary's principal, Philip Monks told the Belfast Telegraph: "One parent contacted me regarding a flyer that had been given by Hope for Youth Ministries.

"All concerns expressed by parents are taken seriously. After consultation with staff, I responded immediately and to the parent's satisfaction."

One mother told the Belfast Telegraph: "I think it's too much even for a ten year old to think of themselves as sinners needing forgiveness for being bad and then to be warned that even saying the prayer won't save them and that Jesus died because of them."

The prayer on the pamphlet reads: "Dear Lord, I am a sinner. Please forgive me for all my sin. I'm really sorry for all the wrong things I have done.

"Thank you for dying on the cross to save me. I believe in You. Please come into my heart and life, and help me to live for You. Amen."

Another parent was quoted by the Belfast Telegraph as saying: "I don't mind children learning basic Christian principals but this is Christianity being delivered via a sledgehammer."

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