Church supports gay groups

22:09, Jun 17 2012

The Inglewood United Church is throwing its weight behind a new gay and lesbian support group in North Taranaki.

"We want to show them (gays and lesbians) that there's nothing wrong with them, and God still loves them," group organiser and church member Jean Walsh said.Mrs Walsh, a retired member of the combined Methodist and Presbyterian church's council, said she hoped the group could work to break down barriers that existed between the church in general and homosexual communities.

"There are no officially gay-friendly churches in Taranaki yet," the Taranaki Base Hospital assistant chaplain said.

The new group, which will meet in a private house in Inglewood, hopes to become affiliated to the Auckland-headquartered Rainbow Youth organisation which it has already been in contact with.

Rainbow Youth executive director Thomas Hamilton said he personally had not heard of the potential tie up but was nevertheless happy to see the group being formed in Taranaki.

"We're happy to back them one hundred per cent," Mr Hamilton said.

The group was prepared to help however it could, but Mrs Walsh was unsure what form that would take although education about homosexuality in general was one area it wanted to examine.

Hunter Ward is a Witt student journalist.

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