Differences debated after church

NEWCASTLE'S gay community confronted minister the Reverend Ian Copland at the controversial Wallsend Presbyterian Church yesterday.

Representatives from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Questioning community attended Mr Copland's service and spoke with him afterwards.

The rift between the gay community and the church started more than two weeks ago when the church noticeboard carried messages opposing same sex marriage.

The offending message read "Even tradies know you need both male and female joints to make a marriage" and session clerk Doug Smiley said same sex marriages were against religious principles.

"Most of us sat in on Reverend Copland's service just to listen to what he had to say," group spokesman Nick Kelly said.

"We wanted to be visible and to listen to what he had to say and at the end we had some discussion time with him.

"We spoke to other members of the church and they were quite supportive of us so it seems like more of an individual response."

Mr Copland said the members of the gay community were "very respectful" during his church service and thanked them for that.

"There were a few lively discussions afterwards that got a little bit emotional but it was good to debate a few things with them," Mr Copland said.

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