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Posts for May, 2013

Church of Scotland allows ministers in relationship

Timothy Kincaid

May 21st, 2013

20130520-230145.jpgTwo years ago, the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland allowed congregations to choose gay or lesbian ministers. Now it has expanded that to include ministers in same sex relationships.

In a compromise, it confirmed the majority’s traditional view of sexuality as being the position of the denomination while allowing more liberal congregations freedom to follow their conscience. ABC

Albert Bogle, who proposed the motion, said it was a compromise to move the debate between the traditionalists and revisionists forward.

“My motion is to be permissive and to allow those who want to do this to do it. But I want to affirm the position of the Church of Scotland in the historic tradition of the church,” he said. “It will give everyone what they want but it will keep us together.”

Due to the Presbyterian structure of the church, the decision now goes back to local areas (presbyteries) for confirmation.

Church of Scotland lifts moratorium

Timothy Kincaid

May 23rd, 2011

Four hundred fifty years ago, the Scottish Parliament adopted the Protestant Confession of Faith and established the Church of Scotland influenced by the theology of John Calvin and based on the teachings and administrative structure of John Knox. Immigrants to the Americas from Scotland brought this faith with them and it became known as Presbyterianism.

So it is fitting that this month has a parallel movement between the Presbyterian Church (USA) and the Church of Scotland. (Guardian)

Scotland’s largest protestant church has voted to allow gay men and lesbians to become ministers.

The Church of Scotland imposed a temporary ban after the appointment of Scott Rennie, a gay minister, to a church in Aberdeen in 2009.

The general assembly, the church’s law-making body, voted on Monday morning to lift that moratorium, officially allowing gay ministers to take on parishes for the first time since it was founded in 1560-1 by John Knox, a leading figure in the Scottish reformation.

The Church of Scotland hold religious prominence in the country with about 40% of Scots identifying with the denomination (a plurality) though only about 9% of Scottish residents are active members of the Kirk.

It is yet to be determined whether gay ministers will be required to live in celibacy or whether those in committed relationship may serve. And only time will tell whether threats of schism will materialize.

Church of Scotland Approves Gay Minister

Timothy Kincaid

May 24th, 2009

The Church of Scotland, the mother of the Presbyterian churches, has taken a very significant step.

The church’s ruling body voted 326 to 267 Saturday to support the appointment of the Rev. Scott Rennie, 37, who was previously married to a woman and is now in a relationship with a man.

Rennie was first appointed as a minister 10 years ago, but has faced opposition since he moved to a church in Aberdeen, Scotland, last year. He has been unable to take up his post while the Church of Scotland considered appeals from his critics.

Before the vote, the Church had voted down efforts to discuss or debate the greater issue of the place of gay men and women in the Church. Conservatives had hoped that such a debate would result in positions that would make it difficult to seat Rennie.

The decision is a positive indication that the Church is at least willing to allow those congregations that wish to be led by a gay person the right to that position.

UPDATE:

Although the Church voted not to debate sexuality this year, they have put a hold on any other ordination and sent the matter to committee. (
BBC)

At its General Assembly in Edinburgh, it was decided that a special commission should be set up to consider the matter and report in 2011.

There will be a two-year ban on the future ordination of gay ministers.