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Minister resigns claiming the Church of Ireland is 'homophobic'

by Chantalle Edmunds
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Reverend Andrew Rawding/Facebook

A Church of Ireland minister has announced he is leaving his post after claiming the church is "structurally, culturally and socially homophobic".

Reverend Andrew Rawding who is rector of Brackaville, Donaghendry and Ballyclog in County Tyrone announced his resignation before his congregations on Sunday morning.

Rev Rawding had been a Church of Ireland minister for a decade.

Speaking to BBC Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster, Rev Rawding said it has been a "long build up" to his resignation.

He has previously helped run Pride parades and said he had received backlash when voicing his support for the LGBTQ community. 

"I think the stance I have taken to support the LGBT community and the backlash and the opposition to that made me think, 'Andrew what are you doing, what is your calling, what is distinctive about your ministry and how best can you follow Jesus Christ to those who have been marginalised, oppressed and rejected by society and the churches?'" he said.

He added that he had received lots of messages of support and encouragement within his parishes but not from some church leaders:

"I think when it comes to the structures of the church and the way the Church of Ireland operates, I haven't seen courageous, compassionate leadership - and this is a leadership issue."

"What we cannot continue to have is a situation where, worst case, there is isolation, rejection, loneliness, family break up, self-harm and suicide, because of the Church of Ireland's current homophobic approach to LGBT people and same-sex marriage," he stated.

He now plans to study social work at Queen's University.

A spokesperson from the Church of Ireland told Premier they had no comment to make. 

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