Church expelled from local schools for upholding biblical sexual ethics

Three schools in Derbyshire have broken their longstanding relationship with a local evangelical church over its biblical stance on marriage.

Watchorn Church in Alfreton has worked with schools in the area for more than two decades, teaching children about the UK’s Christian heritage and inviting them into its building for assemblies.

But in just a two-week period, three primary schools announced they were distancing themselves from the church. One headteacher said the church’s beliefs opposed the values of “different families, same love”, while another said their school “strives to promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity”.


The developments came after Mayor of Alfreton Hannah Jowett-Frost posted on social media wishing “all the homophobes a super uncomfortable” ‘Pride Month’ in June.

In response, Watchorn Church’s Pastor Ryan Clarke wrote to her, informing her of his “concern” over her messaging and inviting her to his home to discuss the subject to “help us understand where we are both coming from”.

Pastor Clarke never received a reply, but months later he was contacted by the headteacher of one school, who said she was concerned about the church’s views on LGBT issues after hearing about his letter to the mayor. The two other schools soon followed in emailing to terminate the relationship.


Pastor Clarke said: “I was disappointed because we stand by what we believe is true – which is the Bible. The ease at which the school could pull away from the church, after having historically had so much influence from the church was frightening to me.”

He was “very saddened” that the schools which have “benefited historically through the Christian faith can easily dismiss us for believing in biblical marriage and threw us out after two decades of visitation and ministry”.

In a video addressing the news, he explained: “The Bible teaches us – for centuries – that marriage is between a man and a woman”, and expressed his admiration for teachers and the good work they do, but said the education system aims to “change the minds of our children into what they think is right, which is sadly far from the truth”.

Pastor Clarke emphasised that the church is “not bigoted”, but in fact “we love these people and that means we’re going to point them to the one who gives hope of salvation, and that is a Saviour, and his name is Jesus”.


Last year, a teacher was dismissed from The Bishop of Llandaff Church in Wales School, in Cardiff, after sharing his beliefs on marriage at a staff training seminar.

During a question and answer session, Ben Dybowski asked if his beliefs – that marriage is between a man and a woman and that life begins at conception – were considered discriminatory.

Despite being told that it was a “safe space and encouraged to speak freely”, he was sacked the following day.

Also see:


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