Fury as uni allow homophobic church to lease space in Pollock Halls

‘We want people to feel bad about what they’ve done’

A bigoted Christian group have been holding its anti-gay congregation in Pollock Halls since June 2014.

The Chalmers Church branch denounces gays as “wicked” and set up camp on Edinburgh Uni ground after having to depart The Church of Scotland because their support of gay marriage was not “following the Bible”.

Ignorant Edinburgh uni who had no idea about the Church’s homophobic views has allowed the extremist group to lease University property, and by placing them within Pollock Halls has given them the means to recruit young students to the congregation.

Pollock Halls residents may well have come across the Church before, perhaps heard their cheerful American-style evangelical hymns, played by a band with electric guitars and keyboards, singing with gusto on Jesus’ love and God’s forgiveness.

But the nature of this Church is far darker than appears from a distance.

Last Sunday the Tab attended one of the Chalmers services to get a better understanding of the Church and was able to speak to several members of the congregation.

Simon, a regular attendee, spoke openly about the fact that the legalization of gay marriage was the catalyst behind the groups split. He said: “It as one of the many examples where the Church of Scotland has failed to follow the Bible.”

He talked of how the congregation felt they could not continue as a denomination of a Church that would not follow the word of God.

When pushed on the congregation’s views on homosexuality, Simon said: “We all have wickedness inside us, and being gay is one such wickedness.”

When asked if those who identified as gay would be welcomed into the church he assured us: “Of course they wouldn’t be turned away at the door. But would be taught that what they are is wrong.

“This Church is a community and would help its members through such problems.”

In his sermon, Andy Buchan, one of the three main preachers of Chalmers Church, read Romans 8:31-39, with special emphasis on the line: “If God is for us, who can be against us?”

On reading this line he looked up and addressed the 300 strong congregation.

“Who is against us?”

After a moment of silence he answered his own question: “A lot of people are against us.

“If you are not a follower of Jesus you are against Jesus and if you are against Jesus, God will charge you, God will condemn you to hell.”

After the service had finished, The Tab was able to get a few moments alone with Andy who had to be extracted from a crowd of adoring adolescents.

He said: “We’ve always been popular with students. Our orthodox beliefs are attractive and I hope students will invite their friends along.”  

He proudly went on to discuss that there were more than 50 students from Pollock in the congregation.

When asked about the heavy-handed messages of eternal damnation in his sermon, Andy said: “We’re not here to make people feel good about themselves. We want people to feel bad about what they’ve done.”

We repeated to him Simon’s comments on homosexuality to which he said: “Well no it’s not that we have a problem with people who identify as gay, it’s just that it’s wrong.”

EUSA have damned the group’s presence on campus. President Briana Pegado: “EUSA does not condone it in any shape or form.

“We do not support the university’s decision as they are promoting really harmful views of a particular group of students.”

Pegado was tipped off after receiving an anonymous letter over the summer about the uni’s dealings with the Church. She said: “I investigated it but they had already signed the contract with the church, they were not aware of the views of the church and they had no ground to break the contract of the Church and assured me that’d it be a short term contract.

“I suggested that they did not renew it.”

Liam Vandewalle of the LGBT+ Liberation Group condemned the uni’s decision to let them practice in Pollock: “The University should not be providing the Church with a space to practice.”

The LGBT+ representative has contacted the minister of Chalmers Church, Robin Sydserff, and the two have arranged a meeting in order to take an opportunity to talk about their differences.