The pastor of
First Portadown, a Presbyterian church in Edenderry,
Northern Ireland, has sparked a controversy involving
For over 60
years, Portadown along with a neighboring church, Armagh
Road, have held joint Christmas services. But this year
Reverend Stafford Carson of Portadown said he would
not allow fellow minister Reverend Christina Bradley
into his pulpit because she is a woman.
"I come from
Germany where this issue never arose," Bradley told
the Belfast Telegraph. "I am saddened and
puzzled that women -- who are fully-fledged ministers -- are
not accepted by some clerics."
moderator, Dr. John Finlay, told the BBC on Sunday that
while the church has decided women are eligible in the same
way as men, they also allow "those who have
reservations about the role of women in the ministry
to exercise freedom of conscience so that nobody is
forced to act contrary to their own personal opinions."
Bradley said she
has plans to meet with Carson to resolve the issue away
from media glare. The BBC said Carson would not respond to
its attempts to contact him. (The Advocate)