NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Church of Scotland minister quits over gay clergy

A Church of Scotland minister in Aberdeen has quit his role over the Kirk's stance on gay clergy.

Reverend Peter Dickson, of High Church in Hilton, said he had taken the decision with a "heavy heart".

He claimed in a statement the Church of Scotland wanted to walk away from the teachings of Christ.

Mr Dickson opposed the selection of openly gay minister Scott Rennie to Queen's Cross church in Aberdeen in 2009.

He said: "It is with a heavy heart and genuine sorrow that I announce my decision to demit the pastoral charge of High Church, Hilton, on Wednesday 30 November and cease to be a minister of the Church of Scotland.

"This is not a rash decision but comes after years of heart-searching discussions.

"I feel this is the only path left open for me which will enable me to continue to teach the scriptures with integrity."

'Sense of betrayal'

The Kirk Session of High Church said it was "deeply saddened".

Its statement added: "The decision of the Church of Scotland to move away from the authority of the scripture has left many in our church with a very real sense of betrayal."

The Church of Scotland imposed a temporary moratorium in 2009 on admitting gay and lesbian ministers after Mr Rennie became the first openly gay clergyman in a homosexual partnership to be officially appointed as a minister in the church.

The Kirk's General Assembly voted in May to accept gay and lesbian clergy provided they had declared their sexuality and were ordained before May 2009, allowing Mr Rennie to retain his ministry.

However, no further gay clergy will be ordained until a theological commission has reported in 2013 and final decision has been made by the general assembly.

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