Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Church of Scotland and Gay Ministers

The timesonline reports that the Church of Scotland magazine, Life and Work, is supporting gay partnerships with an editorial by Muriel Armstrong at the head. This is little more than a propaganda exercise in view of a forthcoming General Assembly that will deal with the matter of the appointment of a gay minister in Aberdeen who is currently occuping the manse with his partner. The kirk session and presbytery approved the appointment, but it will have to go to the Assembly where I assume that it will be shot down, or else, thank God for the barrier act, which will take it down faster than a 1980s Mike Tyson in a grumpy mood. One advantage of the Free Church of Scotland is that they don't have this debate about whether or not to appoint actively homosexual ministers (on the downside they have debates about whether or not it is sinful to use instrumental music in worship services). More seriously, depending on how the issue plays out in the COS this could lead to a division in the national church not seen since the disruption of 1843.


Mark Stevens said...

Mike, the church you refer to as having arguments over using music in worship - are they in anyway connected with the Disciples of Christ in the USA and the Churches of Christ in Australia?

Brad Haggard said...

I don't think so, I'm in the middle of those churches, the (Independent) Christian Churches. It's an American movement, and the original founders had some history with Presbyterian churches in Ireland.

Bad news is they split 100 years ago, good news is that we are making steps toward reconciliation. How could instruments ever be a test of faith?

Nik said...

...and the Disruption was concerned with a congregation's right to call its minister. If we lose that [and a Presbytery's right to veto or not veto] we may end up back in the position of having ministers imposed on congregations without any say.... This works both ways. For those churches who are at the more conservative evangelical end, it could mean they get a moderate/ or liberal foisted on them [or even a gay or female minister] just as much as a liberal church could end up with someone from the more conservative end.
This matter has gone way beyond Scott Rennie, it's now about questioning the very way that we as the Church of Scotland structure ourselves.
I for one think doing our business by waving about petitions is a huge step backward. And, I love the broadness of our church - which contains folks from all the theological spectrum and actually, which is necessary if we say we are the 'national' church: we need to ensure all in the church are represented not just some.