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Gay evangelicals claim they are being 'forced out' of churches in the UK

(Wikimedia Commons/Hans Musil)Canterbury Cathedral: West Front, Nave and Central Tower

Several evangelical Christians in the U.K. have claimed that they are being expelled from their churches for being gay.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, seven evangelical Christians shared stories of how they were treated after revealing their sexuality to clergy.

Some have noted that they were "booted out" of their church after declaring that they were gay. Others were allowed to remain in their church, but were told that they cannot hold any position in the ministry.

Jayne Ozanne, an influential gay rights activist, said that she will call attention to the issue at the meeting of the General Synod of the Church of England next month to determine if churches are complying with the official guidelines of the House of Bishops.

Before coming out as a lesbian in 2015, Ozanne was part of the Archbishop's Council between 1999 and 2004. She said that she had "learnt of a dozens of cases recently" and had thought that a #MeToo moment would take place in the Church.

One woman in her thirties shared that she had to leave her church after a priest condemned for being involved in a lesbian affair.

"He told me I had to stop this relationship immediately. I could have the thoughts, but not act. I was a Sunday club leader, a women's study group leader. I was booted out within three weeks," the unnamed woman said, as reported by Pink News.

"They don't think fundamentalist Christians would behave like that... My parents would have described it as a cult. My non-Christian friends think it is barking mad," she added.

The woman reportedly started attending an evangelical church that is more accepting of homosexuals, but she was still prohibited from serving in any leadership role.

Other gay evangelicals have claimed that they were prevented from assuming any positions of responsibility, including making tea and coffee.

Pink News reported that a former youth leader in northern England had been asked to resign for being in a civil partnership, even though he remained celibate. Other Christians were reportedly censured for expressing support for LGBT individuals on social media.

Christine Hardman, the Bishop of Newcastle, has thrown her support behind gay Christians who want to remain within the Church.

"We are all made in the image of God and there is a place for everyone in God's church. I recognise with gratitude the service and contribution LGBTI+ people bring to the life of our church - in a whole range of roles," said Hardman, who serves as the chairwoman of the Church of England's pastoral advisory group on issues of human sexuality, according to Premier.

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