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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 October, 2003, 15:39 GMT 16:39 UK
Gay group rejects cathedral deal
Manchester Cathedral
Manchester Cathedral withdrew an offer to stage an LGCM service
A lesbian and gay Christian group has rejected a compromise deal after it was banned from holding a service at Manchester Cathedral.

The cathedral had withdrawn an invitation to the Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement (LGCM) to hold a service there on 26 October.

It offered instead to let the group join the congregation for morning worship while their conference - Halfway to Lambeth - is held in the city.

But the LGCM's general secretary, the Reverend Richard Kirker, said the offer was too late.

Gay human rights group OutRage! has also called for the Bishop of Manchester, the Rt Rev Nigel McCulloch, to resign over the row.

The Church would never dare to treat the black or Jewish community in this high-handed manner
Peter Tatchell, OutRage!
Mr Kirker said the LGCM had already arranged to hold a service at St Chrysostom's Church, near the University of Manchester.

He added that delegates would feel "awkward" attending a service at the cathedral.

He said: "While we are happy that the cathedral is now in a position to welcome us, even though it would be on very different terms, those who are organising the conference felt that the service should now take place at some distance from all the controversy that has blown up around this simple act of worship.

"What is now important is to see the future with some hope, particularly as the bishop has decided to constitute an advisory group on gay issues."

'Invitation stands'

Peter Tatchell, spokesman for OutRage!, said: "A bishop who cannot honour an agreement is unfit to hold office and should resign.

"The Church would never dare to treat the black or Jewish community in this high-handed manner."

Cathedral spokeswoman Gillian Oliver said: "We hoped that [the LGCM] would meet us halfway.

"This invitation stands and will not be withdrawn."

She added that the bishop had no response to make to Mr Tatchell's comments.


SEE ALSO:
Deans resign over cathedral gay ban
16 Sep 03  |  Manchester
Cathedral 'bans' gay group
04 Sep 03  |  Manchester
Q&A: The Anglican Communion
06 Aug 03  |  In Depth


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