Senior cleric: gay clergy row could tear us apart

The debate over appointing practicing homosexuals to clergy positions is unlikely to be resolved in the near future, the new head of the Scottish Episcopal Church (SEC) has warned.

The issue needs to be addressed without any “blurring” or “fudging”, said the new Primus of the SEC, the Most Revd David Chillingworth.

The SEC is part of the world-wide Anglican Communion along with the Episcopal Church in the United States, which recently decided to allow the ordination of “partnered gays” as bishops.

The decision sparked further warnings that the issue could be pushing the Anglican Church towards schism.

Bishop Chillingworth said: “This is an issue that has been threatening to tear us apart, and many of us live across a spectrum in which out of one side of our minds we can say there is a justice and inclusion issue here, and out of the other there is a dialogue that needs to go on with the traditional teaching of the Church and what the Bible says.

“You can’t wish either of those away. You have to deal with both.”

He also said he was “profoundly respectful” of the way in which the Church of Scotland dealt with the issue earlier this year.

The Kirk’s General Assembly earlier this year was dominated by the appointment of Scott Rennie, a practicing homosexual, as the minister of a church in Aberdeen.

The Kirk introduced a two-year moratorium on further appointments and called on members to stay quiet on the issue until a future policy could be decided.

A petition opposing Mr Rennie’s appointment had drawn around 12,000 signatures, and other Kirk ministers warned that the decision could alienate “grassroots” members.

Related Resources