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Funds lost as wealthy churches quit in new gay protest

April 16th, 2014 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland Comments Off

By Brian Donnelly, Herald Scotland

TWO of the wealthiest Church of ­Scotland congregations are quitting the Kirk just weeks before the General Assembly over the issue of gay ordination.

The move is a new cash blow with the two congregations contributing £315,000 between them to the Church.

One of the congregations has already left, with the second negotiating terms.

The departure of St Catherine's Argyle, in the leafy Grange district of Edinburgh, and New Restalrig in Willowbrae, also in the Scottish capital, comes as almost 1000 key figures are due to gather for the annual meeting of the Church in the city in May.

The two confirmed breakaway congregations are in the "higher givings bracket" and so among the wealthiest in terms of donations.

Reverend Robin Sydserff, minister at St Catherine's Argyle, is understood to have strong support in his congregation – which generated income of £200,000 a year – in objecting to the direction of the debate over the issue sparked by the appointment of openly gay Reverend Scott Rennie to an Aberdeen church in 2009.

A move was made to allow ­the ­ordination of gay ministers at the General Assembly last year, sparking a number of resignations by congregations. Reverend David Court, formerly of New Restalrig, whose congregation donated £115,000 a year, has also now officially signed off, or demitted, from the Kirk and has become a member of the Free Church of Scotland.

His flock of more than 100 now worship in a mission hall in Craigentinny in the city, with New Restalrig under the guidance of locum minister Reverend Peter Nelson.

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Church of Scotland minister loses role as chaplain of Glasgow school after calling homosexuality a ‘disorder’

January 7th, 2014 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland, Gay Activism Comments Off

By Auslan Cramb, Telegraph

A Church of Scotland minister has been removed from his post as chaplain of a Gaelic school after describing homosexuality as a "perversion" and a “disorder”.

The Rev Donald MacInnes made the comments on a Facebook page seen by some parents of pupils at the Glasgow Gaelic School.
 
They complained to the city council over the remarks, with one describing them as “absolutely disgraceful”.
 
Mr MacInnes made the comments while criticising the Scottish Government's plans to legalise same-sex marriage.
 
He said: "The overwhelming support of our Scottish politicians in creating same-sex marriage is very disappointing.
 
"Many of us, myself included, agreed that the creation of civil partnerships was necessary so that individuals suffering from this disorder were not legally penalised in any way because of their sexuality.

"We can now expect to see the school curriculum changed to the end that our children will be taught this perversion as if it were a good thing."

 
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Chaplain at school axed after calling homosexuality a ‘disorder’

January 6th, 2014 Jill Posted in Children/Family, Church Of Scotland, Gay Activism Comments Off

From STV News

A Church of Scotland minister has been removed from his role as the chaplain of a Glasgow school after he described homosexuality as a "disorder".

Rev Donald Michael MacInnes made the comments on a Facebook page read by parents of pupils at Glasgow Gaelic School.

On Monday a spokeswoman for Glasgow City Council confirmed the Church of Scotland minister had been removed from his pastoral position at the school.

In the post, the Church of Scotland minister refers to homosexuality as a disorder and a "perversion".

He said: "The overwhelming support of our Scottish politicians in creating same-sex marriage is very disappointing.

"Many of us, myself included, agreed that the creation of civil partnerships was necessary so that individuals suffering from this disorder were not legally penalised in any way because of their sexuality.

"We can now expect to see the school curriculum changed to the end that our children will be taught this perversion as if it were a good thing."

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Statement from the gathering of Church of Scotland Evangelicals

June 18th, 2013 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland, Civil Partnerships Comments Off

Church of Scotland Evangelicals

Many evangelicals within the Church of Scotland are deeply concerned about the current crisis over the ordination and induction of those in same-sex civil partnerships. Some have left the Kirk and others are considering doing so.

Today in Perth there was a large gathering of 350 evangelicals from the Church of Scotland (ministers, elders and members). The result of this was the formation of a network of evangelicals who have made the clear decision to remain in the Church of Scotland and to work for its reformation and renewal. We believe that the Church of Scotland remains an important vehicle for reaching the whole population of Scotland with the Gospel and, despite recent decisions, believe that God is still at work among us. We also believe that we can remain with integrity.

We urge others to join with us and to remain in the Church of Scotland, as we seek to restore and rebuild our Church.

Our vision for this network of evangelicals within the Kirk will be developed over the next few months.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Kirk could lose £1m a year over gay ordination

June 17th, 2013 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland Comments Off

By Brian Donnelly, Herald Scotland

THE Church of Scotland stands to lose more than £1 million a year in givings as congregations begin resigning from the Kirk in the row over gay ordination.

The first wave of resignations has seen six congregations quit, with half of the parishes in the Kirk's financial heartland. The controversy could have a bigger impact on Kirk coffers as more are expected to follow over the next two years.

In Edinburgh, Holyrood Abbey Church worshippers give £215,000 a year, New Restalrig gives £114,000 and St Catherine's Argyle collects £196,000, while Gilcomston South in Aberdeen, brings in £300,000 a year and on Lewis the Kinloch and Stornoway churches bring in £210,000 between them. In total, the Kirk brought in £60.5m in givings in 2011.

It is understood that wealthier traditionalist congregations who depart may offer less well-off parishes help if they wish to leave.

The developments came as father and son ministers said they would leave the Church over the move to allow congregations to ordain gay ministers made at its May General Assembly, despite the decision still having to be ratified. Rev David Randall of Ayrshire has followed his father Rev David Randall Snr of Logie St John's in Dundee in becoming the latest to say publicly that he will leave.

"I have always just felt it seems they are willing to pursue this liberalising pro-gay agenda regardless of the cost and it is emerging the cost is going to be very high. That is inevitable. There have been warning voices over the last three or four years that have just been ignored. It's very sad.

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Has the Church of Scotland voted to allow actively gay ministers or not?

May 22nd, 2013 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland, Gay Marriage Comments Off

By Gillan Scott, God and Politics in the UK

The Church is often accused of being obsessed with sex (or at least a dislike of it under certain circumstances) and it’s not too hard to see why. Yesterday’s news was filled with the gay marriage bill and surprise, surprise those who were shown to be complaining the most were Christians outside parliament. We also saw the Church of Scotland’s ruling General Assembly voting on whether to allow actively gay men and women to become ministers.
 
I don’t believe that the majority of Christians are obsessed with sex, but the media does love to jump on anything that involves the Church and sex in any form. In one sense I suspect that this blog also contributes to that image of Christians, as I tend to talk about issues of sexuality a lot. The problem is that this is one clear area where biblical teaching and traditional Christian views are in conflict with general attitudes in society. If you add to that disagreements within the Church, there is undoubtedly plenty that can be discussed and given the chosen subject matter that I’ve chosen to write about, it’s difficult to ignore it.
 
So apologies for bringing it up again, but having provided some thoughts on the gay marriage bill yesterday, I’m now going to turn my attention to yesterday’s events in Scotland.
 
Last night the BBC announced along with a number of the newspapers that the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly had voted to allow practising gay people to become clergy. As with most decisions by church ruling bodies, it wasn’t quite that simple and straightforward. The BBC article does explain itself as it goes along, but it’s worth looking at what led up to this point in order to make sense of what the vote means for the Church of Scotland.
 
Read here
 
Read also:  An open letter to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
 
 
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Church of Scotland General Assembly in gay ministers debate

May 20th, 2013 Chris Sugden Posted in Church Of Scotland Comments Off

The issue of gay ministers will top the agenda at the Church of Scotland's General Assembly, four years after the first openly homosexual minister was appointed by the Kirk. The move caused divisions in the church and resulted in two congregations and six ministers breaking away.

At the heart of debate will be a report by the Theological Commission, which sets out arguments on both sides. But there is no guarantee of a final decision on the matter.

The General Assembly is the supreme court of the Church of Scotland and its annual national business meeting.

About 850 church commissioners – mainly ministers and elders – from across the church's 48 presbyteries, gather in the Assembly Hall on the Mound in Edinburgh for a week in May.

On the gay minister debate, the General Assembly has the option of "pausing for further reflection", which could delay a decision for another year. And even if church representatives agree on the way forward, rules dictate it must be approved at a presbytery level and then rubber-stamped at next year's General Assembly.

The dilemma facing the Church of Scotland goes back to 2009, when the openly gay minister Scott Rennie was appointed to the Queen's Cross parish in Aberdeen. He was backed by most of his congregation and by the General Assembly, but the decision resulted in protest and the break-away of a small number of congregations and ministers.

 Gay minister Scott Rennie was appointed at Aberdeen's Queen's Cross Church in 2009

The issue returned at the Kirk's gathering in 2011, which voted to accept gay and lesbian clergy – on the condition they had declared their sexuality and were ordained before 2009. At that General Assembly, the theological commission was set up to report this year, before a final decision on the issue of gay ordination would be taken.

The 94-page report does not offer any conclusion or recommendations, but set out different paths the Kirk may want to take.

Read BBC News Report here

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Key debates

May 20th, 2013 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland Comments Off

The Church of Scotland's General Assembly debate on same-sex marriage for clergy is available to watch on Live Webcast here

 

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Aberdeen Church quits Kirk over homosexual clergy row

February 13th, 2013 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland, Homosexuality Comments Off

From The Christian Institute

An Aberdeen congregation and its minister have become the latest to leave the Church of Scotland over its ordination of homosexual clergy.

Gilcomston South’s minister Reverend Dominic Smart has resigned from the Kirk and will start holding separate services in a hotel in March.

Rev Smart said he had no choice: “The decision by the Church of Scotland represented a clear and deliberate move away from the authority of scripture as the word of God and our supreme rule of faith and life.”
 
He added: “We’ve experienced a great deal of unity and strength from within the congregation and we’re looking forward to moving ahead and doing something new.”

The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland approved the appointment of an openly gay minister to Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen in 2009.

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Kirk gay row: the ugly face of liberal bigotry

December 18th, 2012 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland, Gay Activism Comments Off

By Julian Mann, courtesy of Cranmer

The persecution by the Church of Scotland of St George's Tron, a thriving evangelical church in Glasgow city centre, reveals the ugly face of liberal bigotry. This ogre will haunt the Church of England if its militant liberal wing wins the argument over gay marriage.

St George's, now called The Tron Church, has left the Church of Scotland because of the decision by its General Assembly to accept practising homosexual ministers. The congregation has moved out of its building on which it has spent a lot of money recently refurbishing but, not content with that, the Church of Scotland has resorted to legal action over disputed assets.

Shortly before the congregation left its building, the Kirk called in Sheriff's officers over some items of movable property. The 'sheriffs' entered the building to 'serve papers' during the church family's mid-week prayer meeting. The Kirk is now complaining to the Scottish charity regulator over the transfer of financial assets to a charitable trust set up by St George's before the congregation left.

One of the ironies here is that the senior pastor of Tron, the Revd Dr William Philip, is one of the most gracious, kindly, humble Christians Cranmer's Curate has ever met. He undoubtedly shares many theological convictions in common with the magisterial Scottish Reformer John Knox, but temperamentally the two men are about as different as Brian Clough and Peter Taylor.

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Scottish congregation evicted and sued by Church of Scotland

December 15th, 2012 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland, Gay Activism Comments Off

St George's TronBy Roger Pearse

[...]  My first reaction was to wonder what all this was about. The Christian Institute has more details. Apparently the Church of Scotland, at the bidding of the non-Christian world, intends to ordain gays as ministers, albeit with much hand-wringing and delays. We all know that unnatural vice is one of many evils prohibited in scripture, and this is probably why the world demands that the church submit and endorse it. This is what persecution looks like, after all – some minor issue is used as an excuse to persecute for non-conformance.
 
St. George’s Tron is a large church in that denomination. Rightly supposing that the processes can have only one end, they have rightly decided that they cannot in conscience remain part of that organisation.
 
The response has been vicious. The Church of Scotland officials have, as I understand it:
  • demanded that the congregation either surrender or vacate the building (which they recently spent 2.5 million pounds — around $4m dollars — to put in order);
  • demanded that the congregation also pay them 1 million pounds (around $1.5m) to repay a loan, made by the denomination to its congregation to refurbish a building which the denomination claims to own;
  • demanded that the congregation also hand over the minister’s house, or manse, which the congregation purchased for its minister, thereby rendering him and his family homeless;
  • demanded that the congregation also hand over its bibles, hymn books, etc.
All this seems to be pure spite, of course, and to intimidate the many congregations that might do the same. The Church of Scotland has many empty buildings, so it has no need for the St Georges Tron building. It proposes to install a “new congregation”; but of course this is just a fake group, with an eye to probable court cases, for if the Church of Scotland could create viable congregations by fiat, it wouldn’t have buildings standing empty. Likewise it is pretty cheeky to demand that a bunch of people kicked out pay for a building that they don’t own; this demand is designed to load the congregation with a debt, hopefully causing it to disband.
 
St George’s Tron chose to leave their building rather than litigate. The Church of Scotland apparently is determined to force them into the courts, by means of the demand for money.
 
Read here
 
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Peter Jensen supports Kirk congregation facing eviction

October 26th, 2012 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland Comments Off

Archbishop Peter JensenFrom The Christian Institute

The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Peter Jensen, has backed a Church of Scotland congregation which faces eviction because of its principled stand against gay clergy.

He has called for mediation to try and find a way for the congregation to continue using the facilities.

The members and leadership of St George’s Tron church in Glasgow had decided to cut ties with the Kirk over its failure to uphold biblical teaching.

The Kirk wants to seize the church’s building – even though the congregation largely funded a recent £3 million refurbishment.

In a letter to the press Dr Jensen said: “I write from afar with great sadness about the decision of the Glasgow Presbytery to deny the clergy and people of St George’s Tron an arrangement for the continued use of their buildings.

“As the general secretary of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, I am all too aware that what we are seeing is part of a broader worldwide struggle.

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Transgender storytelling for kids at CofS venue

February 17th, 2012 Jill Posted in Children/Family, Church Of Scotland, Gay Activism, Transgender Comments Off

From The Christian Institute

Children as young as five are being targeted to take part in a homosexual and transgender storytelling workshop at a Church of Scotland venue this weekend.

On Saturday youngsters have the opportunity to “explore the diverse makeup of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender families in a child-friendly way” at the Scottish Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh.

Critics have accused activists of using the event to deliberately mislead children.
 
Norman Wells, from the Family Education Trust, said: “These events are part of a marketing exercise aimed at presenting as natural a type of family that cannot be created by natural means.

“But no matter how much effort is made to present positive images of families headed by lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, and no matter how young and impressionable the audience, the fact remains that it takes a man and a woman to create a child.

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Church of Scotland: Keep current definition of marriage

December 2nd, 2011 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland Comments Off

From The Christian Institute

Redefining marriage would “fundamentally” change the institution, the Church of Scotland has said.
 
In its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on the issue, the Kirk rejected plans to change the definition of marriage to allow for same-sex couples.
 
It said such a move may also have “significant and, as yet, inadequately considered repercussions for our country, for the well-being of families, communities and individuals”.
 
The Church warned that the Government’s proposal “fundamentally changes marriage as it is understood in our country and our culture – that it is a relationship between one man and one woman”.
 
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Gay clergy row threatens mass resignations from Church of Scotland

November 14th, 2011 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland Comments Off

By Severin Carrell, Guardian

Breakaway church possible with up to 150 ministers ready to quit over ordination of gay clergy

The Church of Scotland is braced for mass resignations over moves to allow the ordination of gay ministers, with up to 150 conservative and evangelical ministers threatening to quit, the Guardian can reveal.
 
The rebellion began after the Church of Scotland became the first major presbyterian church in the world to allow openly gay and lesbian ministers to take up parishes at its general assembly in May, despite evidence that 20% of its elders and office-bearers could leave in protest.
 
The assembly also opened the way for the full ordination of gay ministers in the 450-year-old church within two years.
But senior sources estimate as many as 150 serving ministers are considering resignation, in the largest schism in the church since 474 ministers quit in 1843 to form the Free Church of Scotland.
 
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Ministers quit Kirk as gay clergy row rumbles on

October 13th, 2011 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland, Homosexuality Comments Off

From The Christian Institute

The Church of Scotland is set to lose more of its ministers following its decision to permit openly homosexual clergy.

Last week it emerged that two ministers from the Presbytery of Aberdeen were set to quit the Kirk.

They will be joined by three ministers from the Lochcarron and Skye Presbytery who are also poised to leave the denomination.

Revd Peter Dickson, minister at High Church, Hilton, Aberdeen, has resigned from the Kirk, saying that his position has become “untenable”.

Revd Dickson said: “I feel this is the only path left open for me which will enable me to continue to teach the scriptures with integrity.

“The Church of Scotland wants, sadly, to move on from the Bible and it has walked away from the teaching of Christ.”

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Reverend stuns kirk by marrying lesbian lover

August 31st, 2011 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland, Civil Partnerships Comments Off

From Scottish Daily Record

A FEMALE minister has shocked her congregation by revealing she has a girlfriend and plans to marry her.

One Church of Scotland elder has resigned and others could follow suit after Reverend Lynn Brady (pictured) told them of her civil partnership plans ahead of an emergency parish meeting this week.

The 47-year-old failed to show for yesterday's service at Newburgh Parish Church in Fife. Parishioners were told she'd gone on "holiday" and a locum minister took over.

A church source said: "The congregation are stunned – this has come as a complete surprise. There is a lot of division over the minister's sexuality.

"One of the elders has resigned and there are others considering their position."

"Personally, I don't think this is right and I don't believe in same-sex civil unions.

"Rev Brady has been a conscientious minister but this is going too far. A lot of us are stunned by this development. This is a quiet parish and we do not welcome the glare of publicity.

"The elders had agreed they would do everything they can to keep this quiet."

Rev Brady refused to comment yesterday.

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Church of Scotland tightens noose around its own neck

June 13th, 2011 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland, Homosexuality Comments Off

By Julian Mann, Virtueonline

St George's Tron in Glasgow is a thriving Church of Scotland congregation. It is financially viable, it has young people and it is serving its local community. It is also a church where anyone struggling with homosexual issues would find love, understanding and biblical clarity.

Like the Church of England, its sister church by law established, the Church of Scotland is an ageing denomination facing financial and numerical meltdown. In a recent article in the Church of England Newspaper, church statistician Dr Peter Brierley predicted that the Church of Scotland will have halved in numbers by 2015 to 280,000 members, down from 560,000 in 2005.

St George's Tron is bucking the trend. But the decision by the Church of Scotland General Assembly to endorse same-sex relationships, contrary to what St George's believes is the clear teaching of the Holy Scripture, has severely alienated this vibrant church.

The issue for St George's is the authority of the Word of God.

Writing to his congregation in the wake of the decisive General Assembly vote to legitimise same-sex relationships, minister Dr William Philip declared: "Dear friends, as has become increasingly clear over recent months in the hostility we have already experienced from our presbytery, we are entering days of uncertainty and difficulty as a fellowship when our faith is going to be tested in many ways, some of which we cannot easily anticipate. This should not surprise us. Jesus said "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" [Mark 8:34]. He warned that to be faithful would mean being at odds with many in the world and in the religious establishment, and indeed this has been the history of the church throughout the ages, and in our own land also.

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Aberdeen church could ‘break away’ over gay ministers

June 9th, 2011 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland, Gay Activism Comments Off

From BBC News

An Aberdeen church is expected to break away from the Church of Scotland following the decision to allow the appointment of gay ministers.

Gilcomston South Church in Union Street will formally vote on the issue at a later date.

The Kirk's General Assembly last month voted to allow the induction of some gay ministers.

The Church of Scotland said it was disappointing any congregation would feel the need to leave.

The row began with the appointment of gay minister Scott Rennie at Aberdeen's Queen's Cross Church in 2009.

Gilcomston South's minister Reverend Dominic Smart told BBC Scotland: "The thing we disagree with is the way in which the Bible seems to have been marginalised."

He added in a statement: "Our decision is not a knee-jerk reaction. It is the culmination of careful study, sincere discussion and prayer over the past two-and-a-half years.

"We have weighed up many different options and believe the decision we have reached has the most integrity.

"Our decision comes from a view shared by most Christians."

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Second minister reveals he will quit Kirk over gay clergy controversy

May 31st, 2011 Jill Posted in Church Of Scotland, Homosexuality Comments Off

By Craig Brown, The Scotsman

A SECOND Kirk minister has announced that he is to quit the Church of Scotland over its controversial decision to move towards permitting openly homosexual clergy.

The Rev Andrew Coghill, whose church is in the Outer Hebrides, was among traditionalists who spoke out during last week's General Assembly – the governing body of the Kirk -warning that ordaining gay ministers would destroy the church.

At present ministers in a same-sex relationship can freely preach in the national church, if they were ordained before 2009 – the year the row blew up when the Rev Scott Rennie was appointed to an Aberdeen congregation.

A two-year theological commission will examine if the Kirk should allow the ordination of openly gay ministers.

Mr Coghill informed his congregation on Sunday that "in the light of the General Assembly's decision it is with the utmost sorrow and heartfelt grief" he would demit his charge at Leurbost Church in Lochs, Lewis, where he has served for nearly 20 years.

He said he would quit at the end of August, explaining his conscience would not allow him to stay in the Church after it departed from biblical teachings.

Mr Coghill said: "The Cross is not simply to be preached, it is to be lived.

"I do not expect, encourage or require that any of you should follow me out of the Church of Scotland, for I have nowhere to lead you, and I do not know the direction of my own future.

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