General Assembly Debate

Same-Sex relationships and the Ministry—Update

As this edition of the Lantern is being published the day following the above debate,  the minister writes this update regarding the result:

After a full day of debate, the General Assembly decided by a narrow majority to affirm the Church’s traditional teaching as favouring heterosexual ministers, but decided to allow congregations the opportunity to select ‘gay’ ministers should they so wish.

This decision must now go for approval to Presbyteries under what is termed the Barrier Act and will, therefore, not become law until 2015 at the earliest.

Following the debate, the Church’s Principal Clerk said, “The vote was historic and a massive vote for the peace and unity of the Church of Scotland.  Both sides in the ongoing debate had agreed to move to a compromise position.  As a result, the Assembly had voted for a ‘mixed economy’ allowing Congregations to decide on this matter for themselves.”

In effect this means that even though this decision may eventually become law within the Church of Scotland as far as individual congregations—such as Bothwell—are concerned, there will be absolutely no change in the existing ministry until a vacancy should occur.


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