Veteran synod member fears for Church of Ireland’s future ahead of annual convention

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Reverend Paul Robinson and activist Stephen Spillane with a modified rainbow flag at St Anne's Church in Shandon, Cork, during the summer;  the flag is used by those who think the existing rainbow flag was not enough
Reverend Paul Robinson and activist Stephen Spillane with a modified rainbow flag at St Anne’s Church in Shandon, Cork, during the summer; the flag is used by those who think the existing rainbow flag was not “inclusive” enough, so the pale pink and blue stripes were added to represent transgender people, and brown and black to represent Black Lives Matter

Dermot O’Callaghan, in the mid-1970s and originally from Hillsborough in County Down, first joined the synod around 1970 and remained a member until recently.

The synod will meet from Thursday to Saturday. The gatherings will take place online, not in person.

Asked about his message to attendees, Mr. O’Callaghan said, “I think they need to think about where the church is going, especially in the context of sexuality.

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Dermot O’Callaghan

“I have a newspaper clipping in front of me here. It’s the Daily Mail from August 23: “Scotland lets four-year-olds change sex.”

“We seem to have lost the ability to rationally look at things. There has been a big push from activists on the gay side, and for me, we’re going to make a lot of big mistakes if we’re not careful. “

In recent years, the News Letter has reported on the evolving goals of LGBTQ + activists, both inside and outside the church.

These goals go far beyond advocating for acceptance of same-sex marriage and seek to change the fabric of gender itself.

For example, last June, the News Letter reported that the Church and Society Commission of the General Synod called for the recognition of “non-binary people”.

These are people who do not want to be seen as a man or a woman, but as a new category such as “neutrois”, “genderqueer” or “two-spirited”.

The commission said that “for many people, gender is a spectrum made up of many different and fluctuating societal norms.”

When asked about the matter by the Church of Ireland press office, it contradicted the commission, stating: “The teaching of the Church of Ireland recognizes two genders – male and female – and is unchanged.

“Prayer is not prayer if it makes you hate yourself for being LGBT!” ” she said.

“It’s actually a ‘prayer of hate.’ It is dangerous, damaging and must be included in a bill to ban conversion therapy.

Mr O’Callaghan said there was a “divergence” within the church on these issues, adding: “If this continues, there is no way to reconcile the two parties.”

Regarding the future unity of the church, he said, “I would be hopeful that there would not be a split, but I would not be confident.

As to when that might happen, he said, “I would have thought this decade [we are] will have to fix things.

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