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Bishop apologizes for Franklin Graham mission to Iceland: The Church of England Newspaper, August 16, 2013 August 22, 2013

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of Iceland.
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Bishop Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir of Iceland

The Bishop of Iceland the Rt. Rev. Agnes M. Sigurðardóttir, has apologized to the island’s gay community for the participation of the Church of Iceland in next month’s Festival of Hope meeting in Reykjavík due to the presence of U.S. evangelist and missionary Franklin Graham.

Anna Pála Sverrisdóttir, chair of Samtökin 78, an Icelandic gay activist organization told the news website Ruv.is she was angered by the state Lutheran church’s participation in the Christian rally as Graham opposes gay marriage.

Bishop Sigurðardóttir told Ruv.is she was rethinking her promise to preach at the festival, but added that it might be an opportunity to offer a contrary view to balance Graham’s. The bishop said the Icelandic church had dropped its moral and theological objections to homosexual conduct in 2010 and now was a whole hearted supporter of gay rights.

Gay activists have sought to disrupt the Festival in protest to Graham’s presence. A social media campaign was launched to encourage gay activists to book tickets for the event and then not show up. One activist claimed he had reserved 500 free tickets for the Festival, censoring Graham by preventing those who wanted to hear him preach from the Gospel from attending.

All of the tickets for the festival have been reserved, its website reports. But Festival director Ragnar Gunnarsson told reporters the meeting was not an anti-gay marriage rally but a call to evangelism. He said the Festival organizers were reviewing their options.

Approximately 90 per cent of the country’s population belong to the Þjóðkirkjan, the state Lutheran Church — a partner of the Church of England under the Porvoo Agreement.. However, a 2011 Gallup Poll found Iceland to be one of the world’s most irreligious nations, with 60 per cent of the population saying religion was unimportant in their daily lives.