The Presbyterian Church in Ireland is exploring possible ways to offer pastoral support to individuals and families who are seeking to understand same-sex attraction in light of their faith in Christ.
While outlining the priorities for the General Assembly for the next number of years, Rev Rob Craig told how the church was working to improve upon its pastoral care.
“As a Dialogue and Resources Task Group we’ve been asked to help develop a pastoral dialogue within the Presbyterian Church around helping people where same-sex attraction and the Christian faith intersect,” he explained.
The former Presbyterian Moderator said: “I have been learning to think and speak of homosexuality not as an issue – for I have encountered real people, individuals and families – who have been wrestling to understand who they are in light of their faith in Christ.”
He said in the past year the task group have offered workshops for ministers, licentiates and full time youth leaders.
He said that while the group is under no illusions that they “can or should provide all the answers to all the questions”, they would continue to engage.
Rev Craig said the task group planned to set up further workshops for elders and they are now beginning to explore the possibility of putting together a course for Kirk Sessions who wish to be better equipped to offer pastoral support to individuals and families who are seeking to understand same-sex attraction in light of their faith in Christ.
He said the sole purpose behind the events and conversations is pastoral.
“People are hurting and when they look to us for help and guidance we want to be better equipped to help them,” said Rev Craig.