THE church at the centre of the threatened schism in the Kirk over gay ministers has become embroiled in a fresh row over claims that it is allowing its congregational hall to be used for “sacrificial worship”.
Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen – which sparked a recent row over the ordination of homosexual ministers in the Church of Scotland – is facing a call by a leading minister in the Aberdeen Presbytery for the church to be forced to impose a ban on the current use of the church hall by the members of the Hindu community in Aberdeen. The Rev Scott Rennie, the Kirk’s first openly gay minister, has backed the use of the facilities, saying it showed the church to be “inclusive”.
But the Rev Louis Kinsey, the minister of St Columba’s Church, has tabled a motion for next Tuesday’s meeting of the presbytery in which he condemns the use of church premises for “sacrificial worship offered to idols and false deities”, claiming it contravenes the First and Second Commandments.
Three years ago, Queen’s Cross Church sparked a divisive debate within the Kirk over the ordination of homosexual ministers following the congregation’s decision to induct Mr Rennie.
Last night, Mr Rennie said that the Hindu community had been allowed to use the church hall every second Sunday afternoon as it did not clash with any church activities. The nearest Hindu temple is in Dundee.
He added: “We believe in the church being inclusive in that Christ was hospitable to people.
“They [the Hindus] are lovely people. They are part of our local community and they are welcome. We don’t have any problem with it at all. There is nothing innovative in what we are doing.”
Mr Rennie added: “I am quite embarrassed by it all. I am embarrassed for the Hindus. I think it’s a shame, in this day and age, that this kind of issue should be raised.”
Hindu leaders in the city have accused Mr Kinsey of “intolerance”.
Dr Balasubramaniam Vijayan, the president of Aberdeen Hindu Association, said the association had used the premises without incident since late 2010.
“I think it centres on intolerance,” he said. “I am a British national now, I pay taxes, my two children are Aberdonians and all we want to do is provide a place where Hindus can worship.”
Mr Kinsey defended his controversial motion last night. He said: “There are a number of happy and unobjectionable ways in which Christians and those of other faiths can work together and share hospitality and friendship with one another.
“There are many good examples of this. But Christians believe that Jesus Christ is God incarnate. It is therefore inconceivable that Christians would knowingly allow or encourage, on their premises, other-faith worship that breaks the Commandments and which denies all that Christians hold dear and believe to be essential.
“They are, in effect, encouraging idolatry.”