CC Ludovic Bertron
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Church adopts new inclusion policy after death of gay teenager

A church in Manchester has adopted an inclusion policy and welcomed gay people after a 14-year-old girl killed herself fearing that the church would not accept her as being gay.

St James and Emmanuel in Didsbury has brought in the policy welcoming everyone regardless of race, gender or sexuality following Lizzie Lowe's death in September 2014.

During the inquest into her death, it emerged that the teenager did not want to tell her parents in the church about her sexuality even though they say they loved her whatever here sexual preference was.

 

Leaders at the church said it was "open and welcoming" before Lizzie's death back in September 2014 but they admitted that sexuality was not discussed for fear of causing controversy.

Since Lizzie's death the church's congregations has become more diverse.

Songs are often signed and special prayers are offered for same sex couples who've married.

The church has also started a Youth Cafe for 200 young people where they can go to discuss any worries or problems they have in a safe environment.

It has gained new members from the gay community and even invited the first Didsbury Pride event to take place in the grounds.

St James and Emmanuel also joined eleven neighbouring churches to become the first inclusive Deanery in the Church of England. Its Area Dean is gay and each church is sharing ways to welcome and support parishioners.

The Rt Rev David Walker, Bishop of Manchester, told the Manchester Evening News: "What we can do in Manchester will show churches across the country and not just in the Church of England what inclusivity means, how you can really make something of it."

The move has angered some parishioners and 25 members of the congregation left the church in protest.

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