This evening the Church of Scotland hears the Case of the Dissent and Complaint against Aberdeen Presbytery who upheld Queen’s Cross Church in their call of Scott Rennie to be their minister on the grounds that Scott, an openly gay man in a relationship with his partner David, is unsuitable to be a minister because in their opinion homosexual activity is prohibited in the Bible.
This is a case about many things. It questions the right of a congregation to call a minister. It questions the right of a Presbytery to uphold that call by majority voting. It questions the basis on which a minister can be excluded.
I’ve blogged before about my hope for a gracious and ordered debate and I still hold out some hope for that, even given the things said in sermons and reported in the press over the past few weeks.
Because it is a case and the General Assembly meets as a Court, as with any other court proceedings, there will be no live webcast while the case is being heard. I’m sure that given the proliferation of communication technology news of what’s happening will filter out and it might be worth keeping an eye on #GA2009 on Twitter for any news.
Following the case an overture (motion) from the Presbytery of Lochcarron and Skye will be heard. These are the terms:
ANENT MINISTERIAL CONDUCT
From the Presbytery of Lochcarron-Skye
1. the Church’s historic understanding of the Biblical teaching on homosexual practice has been questioned in recent years.
2. a lengthy period of reflection has elapsed without a resolution of the issue.
3. it is undesirable that the courts of the church should be asked to judge on individual cases in advance of any such resolution.
It is humbly overtured by the Reverend the Presbytery of Lochcarron-Skye to the Venerable the General Assembly to receive the Overture set out below,
“That this Church shall not accept for training, ordain, admit, re-admit, induct or introduce to any ministry of the Church anyone involved in a sexual relationship outside of faithful marriage between a man and a woman”.
Tonight will a defining moment for the Church of Scotland. The outcome of this case may cause a split in the church. It will cause hurt, no matter the decision. I pray that God is with all of those who are faced with this task and with Scott as he awaits the outcome.