Catalyst that started the great debate
THE Kirk's decision yesterday came as a result of a chain of events that began in 2009, when a complaint was brought to the General Assembly over the appointment of the Rev Scott Rennie to Queen's Cross Church in Aberdeen.
The move was the first time that a congregation and presbytery had voted to sustain the call of an openly homosexual minister within the Kirk.
However, following the Aberdeen presbytery's vote, a group of 12 traditionalist ministers and elders within the presbytery dissented and complained initially to the Commission of Assembly, an intermediary court. Unable to resolve the issue, the case was referred to the General Assembly itself, a historic act as it was the first time that a presbytery's decision to sustain the call of a minister had been challenged in the Church's supreme court since the Disruption of 1843.
On the same day that Mr Rennie's case was heard, a motion was received from the Presbytery of Lochcarron-Skye which sought to prevent "anyone involved in a sexual relationship outside of faithful marriage between a man and a woman".
In the run up to the assembly, conservative evangelical ministers campaigned to protect what they said was the traditional stance of the Kirk and to voice their opposition to the Scott Rennie case.
An online petition was set up by Forward Together, an alliance of like-minded evangelicals, for people to show their support for the traditionalist motion, and which gathered 12,555 votes.
On the day of the debate, the Assembly, moderated that year by the Very Rev William Hewitt, voted to uphold the nomination of Mr Rennie, by 326 to 267. However, as a result of this decision, some 121 General Assembly commissioners signed a motion of dissent against it.
The debate on the Lochcarron-Skye motion was delayed for two days, but it resulted in the establishing of a two-year Special Commission to examine the issue and to consult with presbyteries and congregations on their feelings and report back to the Assembly in 2011.
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Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 17 C
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Temperature: 8 C to 17 C
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