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Church News

Church banned from venue over 'extreme and dangerous' beliefs

by Premier Journalist

A Manchester church is having to rethink plans to move its congregation into a new building after concerns over its alleged links to gay conversion therapy.

Once the Sheridan Suite was made aware of controversial stories linked to Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries, it pulled the plug on a council application to use the space for worship.

The church, which is rooted in Nigeria but already operates in Greater Manchester, came under fire after the Liverpool Echo reported that pastors in Anfield had been practicing conversion therapy via a three-day fasting programme. 

However, the church denied discriminating against anyone on the basis of sexuality. 

The church was hoping to use the ground floor bar and restaurant at the function room facility in order to host worship. 

The Sheridan Suite launched an application with Manchester City Council, before revoking it after becoming aware of the church's supposed stance on homosexuality.

It's believed people in the surrounding community were uncomfortable with the church, with some placing complaints. 

The debate surrounding conversion therapy has been put back on the table, despite the government initially deciding that current legislation was sufficient. 

At present, many of the practices of the past have been made illegal, but talking therapies and other means of "conversion" continue. 

An initial bill sought to have conversion therapy against the entirety of the LGBT community banned, but attempts to convert transgender people are no longer being addressed. 

The government initially pledged to address the potential ban in 2018, but no such promise has been fulfilled as of yet. 

Miles Platting and Newton Heath councillor John Flanagan told the Manchester Evening News that Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries practices "extreme" and "dangerous" beliefs. 

He said: "These views do not respect my, my residents or Manchester's values and are contrary to the respect, harmony and love we in Manchester show to everyone.

"Manchester is a city of respect and love for everyone. I see no place in our proud and loving city for those who practice such extreme and dangerous beliefs."

Labour councillor Chris Wills, who is the lead member for LGBT+ Men at Manchester council, labelled the practice as "barbaric".

He told the MEN: "This barbaric practice, which has caused untold misery to many LGBT+ people, has no place in Manchester, or anywhere else. I am pleased that the application has now been withdrawn, and hope we never see another one from these Ministries again.

"Councils should be able to refuse planning applications like this, not only on technical grounds, but also where the applicants inflict cruelty and suffering on vulnerable people."

The Sheridan Suite responded to the claims, saying: "Planning permission was withdrawn by us, as soon as we were made aware of the alleged practices within the Church and following concerns raised by councillors and the wider community. 

"We cater to a wide multi-cultural client base and we welcome the LGBT community with open arms."

Premier Christian News has contacted Mountain of Fire and Miracles Ministries for comment.

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