Kirk votes against trainee gay clergy

Allowing a homosexual man to begin training for ministry in the Church of Scotland broke a two-year agreement to suspend appointing openly gay clergy, the Kirk has decided.

A church court voted 43 to 38 that Hamilton Presbytery, one of the largest in Scotland, broke the agreement by appointing Dimitri Ross to training.

The agreement was put in place after the appointment of an openly homosexual minister, Revd Scott Rennie, caused an uproar.

The agreement will remain until a Special Commission publishes a report on the issue in 2011.

The training was initially believed not to be in breach of the ban as, like all students, Mr Ross was appointed on the proviso that he was not guaranteed employment at the end of his training.

The Kirk confirmed yesterday that no more homosexual candidates will be admitted until the Special Commission publishes its report in 2011.

Mr Ross had previously withdrawn from training after his appointment met with opposition from Kirk members.

Earlier this year the Church of Scotland appointed Revd Scott Rennie, a divorced father-of-one who lives with his homosexual partner, as a minister in Aberdeen.

The appointment was opposed by the Fellowship of Confessing Churches which currently has 53 member churches.

The group says any church which becomes a member should prominently display a covenant agreement making clear its commitment to marriage as the proper place for sexual intimacy.

The covenant says: “We recognize God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family.

“We acknowledge the great harm that has come from our failures to maintain this standard, and we repent and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.”

Affirmation Scotland, which supports gay ordination, has nine member churches.

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