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'The outcome of this case will affect every church in the UK', Christian conference organisers begin legal action after venue cancellation

by Marcus Jones

Scotland's Destiny Church has begun fundraising for legal action it's planning to take against Edinburgh Council.

It's looking for £150,000 for the case which it says will have big ramifications for the UK church.

It stems from the recent cancellation of a booking that the church made at the city's Usher Hall for its annual SURGE conference.

Speakers due at the event included the Evangelical Alliance's Gavin Calver and US preacher Larry Stockstill.

The cancellation came about after the venue said it had received complaints linked to Stockstill and comments he's previously made which were deemed to be critical of homosexuality.

The Church, which has congregations across Scotland and has recently launched small groups in London, is a thriving Pentecostal network which focuses on evangelism and social action.

While it has seen much growth in recent years, it has been criticised by the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Outlining the legal case, Andrew Owen senior pastor at Destiny Church said: "Larry Stockstill, holds the traditional biblical views on marriage which are commonly held by Christians, (Muslims and Jews).

"The Surge conference was not contacted or called to discuss any of these matters.

"In the event, we are told that there was only one complaint and that from a disingenuous reporter."

The conference is going ahead as planned although a new venue is yet to be announced.

But organisers say the cancellation of the venue has wider implications which need to be addressed.

They claim that no church in the UK has ever been locked out of a publicly owned building when seeking to hold meetings and services.

"We believe the Council's actions to be unjust and unlawful, and perpetrates into the public square the intolerant practice of 'no-platforming'.

"Whilst the law is clear, it is yet to be tested, and so the need for legal action.

"The outcome of this case will affect every church in the UK, and indeed people of all faith or none."

It's unclear what the legal action will look like. The Church says any money raised which isn't used will be given to its missions work.

The cancellation came within the same month as US evangelist Franklin Graham saw his bookings at eight UK venues cancelled for his tour this summer.

He too is taking legal action.

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