Shuck and Jive

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mother Church Welcomes Her Gay Son

John Knox is leading the heavenly gay men's chorus in alleluias today as the Church of Scotland voted to approve an openly gay minister of Queen's Cross Church of Aberdeen. This is from the Associated Press:

LONDON (AP) — An openly gay minister on Sunday praised the decision of the Church of Scotland to dismiss a challenge to his appointment by religious conservatives — the latest case involving sexuality to create a division in the Anglican Communion.

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.

"I'm relieved, humbled, I'm obviously pleased and I'm really looking forward to going to be with my new congregation," Rennie told reporters on Sunday. "I've had a long time to wait, they've had a long time to wait and I'm just glad we can get on with life."

Protesters had lobbied the Kirk — the Church of Scotland's ruling executive — over Rennie's case, saying his appointment was not consistent with the teachings of the Bible.

"We are absolutely opposed to that on the basis of what God has to say about homosexuality in the Bible," said one opponent, Pastor Jack Bell of the Zion Baptist Church in Glasgow, Scotland.

The case has divided Scottish religious leaders and follows tensions within the worldwide 77 million-member Anglican Communion. About 900 elders and ministers took part in a debate on Rennie's case, but many chose to abstain from casting a vote.

Anglicans have conducted a lengthy debate over sexuality issues since the Episcopal Church — the Anglican body in the U.S. — consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, in 2003.

Rennie said he believed religious conservatives were behind attempts to oust him from his post.

"The same talk was about when women were ordained, and I think that argument suits those that don't want any change," he told Britain's Sky News television on Saturday.

Following the vote to back Rennie, Scotland's Equality and Human Rights Commission said the Church of Scotland had proven itself to be "a modern church for a modern Scotland."

"We are certain that this decision will be welcomed by the majority of Scots and certainly the majority of Queen's Cross parish in Aberdeen who overwhelmingly demonstrated their support for Mr. Rennie," said Alyson Thomson, a commission spokeswoman.

This is a big decision. Thanks, Mom!


  1. This more or less finishes the battle for me, John. There's no point in fighting something that cannot be stopped. I need to focus my energy with the war against poverty. I may never vote for this, but I can't step in the way of an express train either.

  2. John,

    This is great news. Why, though, does the article make it sound as if the Church of Scotland is a part of the Anglican Communion? Isn't the C of Scotland a part of the Presbyterian Church?

    I'm just curious. Please correct me if I am wrong.


  3. I was puzzling over this, too. What is that phrase when the queen visits Scotland she is Presbyterian? I don't know how the Church of Scotland is part of the Anglican communion. But then I don't even know what the Anglican communion is! :)

  4. Checking on Wikipedia, it appears that the Church of Scotland is not part of the Anglican Communion. The Scottish Episcopal Church is, but that is a much smaller group.

    I don't understand the press story either.

  5. Here is a good article explaining The Church of Scotland et al.

    "The Church of Scotland is the national (established) church in Scotland. (It does not regard itself as a " state church", having fought for centuries to prevent government interference in its affairs.) It is commonly known as the Kirk ( Scots for church). The Church of Scotland is Presbyterian, not Episcopalian, and should not be confused with the Church of England, the Church of Ireland nor the much smaller Scottish Episcopal Church, all of which are part of the Anglican Communion. Both the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal Church are Churches of the Reformation. The latter is a Sister Church, not a daughter church of the Church of England."

  6. John,

    Thanks for the explanation. It seems that the AP reporter seems to have made a bit of a mistake. I thought something was not making sense.

    Whatever the Church, though, this is good news.


  7. The AP story was written in London where they have an Anglican mentality amongst their journalists. if you check out the Scotsman newspaper online, you'll get the real story.

  8. Stushie -

    I know you think this is a "loss" for you and those who oppose gay clergy in the church. But, the sooner others resolve to work as you have stated in your first comment here, the sooner we can ALL focus on the important issues such as fighting poverty. Discrimination against a minority is a distraction that takes everyone's energy away from those important battles.

    I appreciate your feelings, and I thank you for renewing your focus on "the good fight".

  9. It looks like they're getting cold feet. Keep praying that all goes well in 2011.

  10. They've changed their thinking, which makes the whole process absurd

  11. You mean it wasn't absurd before?