Those interested in following the Scott Rennie case at the Church of Scotland General Assembly (whether he, as a practising gay man, can retain his post as minister of Queen’s Cross Church) and the subsequent debate on sexuality, can watch it live from just after 6.30pm tonight. Whether it will be an edifying spectacle remains to be seen…
The BBC Report at the link states that "more than 400 Kirk ministers and almost 5,000 Church of Scotland members are said to have signed an online petition opposing the appointment." That 400 includes many retired ministers, and the 5,000 members belong to a Church denomination of over 600,000 members.
Hmmm. I just read in today's Scotsman newspaper that the Church has chosen not to show this particular debate on its live stream because "the Assembly is meeting as a court." Well it's true that, in Scotland, the proceedings of a court can't be televised. I can see the reasons why court proceedings ought to be held in private.
Latest news from the Church of Scotland website:
"Referred case: On Saturday evening the General Assembly will be exercising judicial functions, and like other British courts do not broadcast these publicly. Therefore there will be no webcast or Twitter updates of the Referred Case.
The webcast broadcast will re-commence with the beginning of the Overture from the Presbytery of Lochcarron-Skye. The timing of this event will be dependant on the length of the preceding material. We will annouce the re-starting of the webcast on Twitter on the General Assembly Updates page."
I guess this might read like double-dutch. Basically, the 'referred case' is a complaint made by certain individuals from the Presbytery of Aberdeen who feel that the Presbytery acted improperly in allowing Queens Cross Church to call Scott Rennie to be their minister. This is the court case, and will be in private.
However, the Lochcarron-Skye overture will debate the issue of whether churches will be able to call ministers in a gay relationship (or indeed in any sexual relationship outside of heterosexual marriage). The overture states:
“That this Church shall not accept for training, ordain, admit, readmit, induct or introduce to any ministry of the Church anyone involved in a sexual relationship outside of marriage between a man and a woman.”
That debate will be live on the stream, using the link above. I suspect the outcome will be to delay having to make a decision for a few years...