1. ITV Report

Methodist leaders 'unequivocally' condemn homophobic card sent to lesbian couple on Christmas Eve

Clerics have spoken out in support of a lesbian couple who were targeted with a homophobic Christmas card which was signed "Methodist Church".

The card was sent to the family home in Salford on Christmas Eve - leaving the couple devastated by the "cowardly" attack.

What’s worse is that someone has tried to blame it on the church. Obviously someone wanted to target us.

I was really angry and got upset. We live in the 21st century - why do people still have a problem with two girls in a relationship? It’s absolutely brutal.

– Sarah* (not her real name)
Signed ‘Methodist Church’ it also includes the pre-printed message: “Blessings of the Season”. Credit: MEN Media

Local Methodists have quickly spoken out in support of the couple - saying they were "disturbed" by the story.

In a joint statement, Manchester & Stockport Methodist District chair Andrew Lunn and Superintendent Minister of the Salford Circuit of the Methodist Church Clare Stainsby said the Methodist religion condemns homophobia and has many members who identify as LGBT+.

They added: “We offer our own regret and apology that this was purportedly done in the name of the church. The fact that this homophobia was expressed in the name of the Methodist Church is something we must address."

Our first thoughts are for the couple concerned, to whom we express our sympathy and support.

Any such homophobic incident causes hurt and offence, and we are very sorry that this has happened. We hope the couple are receiving good support from friends, family and community.

– Andrew Lunn and Clare Stainsby, Methodist leaders

“We say unequivocally that the person who sent this card does not represent the Methodist Church. The person who sent this card may be a member of the Methodist Church."

"If it became possible to identify who they were, and that they were a member of the church, their action in sending the card would be taken seriously. We would use our formal complaint process to challenge their homophobic actions."