Over the weekend there was plenty of reports over how the Church of Scotland has appointed its first gay minister: Scottish Kirk appoints first openly gay minister:
The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has upheld the appointment of an openly gay minister after an intense debate ended with nearly one third of members abstaining.
Last night the Kirk’s ruling body voted by 326 to 267 in support of the Rev Scott Rennie after more than four hours of discussion, as demonstrators on both sides of the debate protested outside.
Around 900 elders and ministers took part in the session in Edinburgh, but not everyone cast their electronic vote.
Mr Rennie, 37, had the support of the majority of his congregation and Presbytery at Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen – but the move to appoint him sparked strong protest from traditionalist members and has led to fears of a split in the Church.
Sadly, these fears seem to be close to the mark, with reports today that Evangelicals vow to hold back cash after Scott Rennie defeat:
Despite their defeat, evangelical leaders made clear that rather than quit the Church, they intended to fight their corner. They claim that their congregations are among the largest in the Kirk, and simply through the collection plate provide a substantial income stream which can be denied to the church authorities.
The impact of a freeze on collection contributions would be big. A petition against Mr Rennie’s appointment gained the signatures of 272 serving parish ministers, among the 964 listed in Scotland. Evangelicals say that their congregations are among the biggest, from a church membership of less than 500,000. The largest congregations can generate more than £100,000 per annum, up to two thirds being paid over to the church authorities.
David Meredith has blogged here with some helpful initial thoughts on how the church in Scotland should respond.