The Church of Scotland’s General Assembly will take a crucial vote tomorrow on the issue of homosexual clergy.
The Assembly will decide whether the decision to appoint practising homosexual Revd Scott Rennie to a church in Aberdeen should stand.
An attempt by the Kirk’s evangelical wing to secure first a debate on the Church’s policy on homosexual ministers was defeated by a show of hands.
Revd Rennie’s supporters said such a debate could “muddy the waters” and prejudice the outcome of his case.
However, Revd Peter Park, of evangelical group Forward Together, said it was “logical” to debate the issue prior to the vote.
There are fears that the issue could split the Kirk. MSPs were recently sent a petition signed by upwards of 7,800 evangelicals opposing Revd Rennie’s appointment.
One MSP, Dave Thompson, lent his support to the petitioners, telling a Scottish newspaper that “active homosexuality is incompatible” with the Bible’s teaching.
The motion to debate Church policy came from the presbytery of Lochcarron-Skye. It called on the Kirk to “not accept for training, ordain, admit, re-admit, induct or introduce to the ministry of the Church anyone involved in a sexual relationship outside a faithful marriage between a man and a woman”.
Revd Park said that “not ordaining anyone engaged in sexual activity outwith the sanctity of marriage is perhaps stating the obvious and shouldn’t be necessary, but it is necessary because in recent years some people in our Kirk have questioned the validity of our sexual morality”.
He was supported by Edinburgh minister, Revd Jeremy Middleton, who warned that having the debate before the case was heard would be vital to the integrity of the Kirk.