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Stanley Road Baptist Church's website
World News

Web host removes church's website for supporting conversion therapy

by Kelly Valencia

A church in Lancashire has had its website removed because the hosting company objected to the pastor signing a letter from UK church leaders opposing the upcoming conversion therapy ban. 

As first reported by Lancaster Guardian, web Host Company Torrix took the decision after Rev Steven Hewitt, lead pastor of Stanley Road Baptist Church, signed the letter. 

Last December, over 2,500 church leaders wrote to the Equalities Minister, Liz Truss arguing the current draft of the ban would criminalise the everyday work of churches.

Since then, a counter letter was also written by LGBT Christians to "challenge the harm that has been caused to many by the insensitive and ill-informed nature of the document."

This comes as legislation banning conversion therapy is expected to be brought forward this year following a public consultation.

Torrix's owner, Matt Fletcher told the Lancaster Guardian why he decided to end commercial relationships with the church. 

"I am an ally to the LGBT community and endorse an outright ban on conversion therapy worldwide. I, therefore, cannot support any organisation that seeks to perpetuate the abuse of LGBT and/or non-binary people. 
"Therefore, I have decided to withdraw my hosting provision for this website with immediate effect."

The church's website now shows a "Down for Maintenance" page.

It says: "Due to circumstances beyond our control, our church website is not available right now. We apologise for any inconvenience."

Responding to Torrix's decision, Rev Hewitt said: "I am saddened at this development, but I am grateful for all the help that Matthew has given the church previously, often voluntarily."

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