Ex-wife says gay minister's opponents lack compassion

THE former wife of the gay minister at a centre of a row that threatens to polarise the Church of Scotland has accused his detractors of showing "very little compassion".

Ruth Rennie, who was married to the Rev Scott Rennie, 37, for five years, yesterday said it would be a "tremendous loss" to the Church if he was denied the opportunity to serve Queen's Cross Church in Aberdeen.

Ms Rennie said his experience in coming to terms with his sexuality had made him an "even better pastor".

A motion proposing the exclusion of homosexuals from the ministry will be heard this week by the Kirk's General Assembly.

More than 11,000 signatures have been added to an online petition attempting to overturn the move, which argues that Mr Rennie's appointment is incompatible with scripture. Other petitions have garnered support for Mr Rennie, minister of Brechin Cathedral since 1999.

Ms Rennie yesterday said her former husband was popular with his congregation in Angus, and said he made a "courageous" decision by coming out.

She said: "In his ministry, Scott is a naturally sensitive and caring person, and what he has faced up to has probably made him an even better pastor."