Ron Ferguson expects to leave the Church of Scotland ministry over the sexuality issue. “The Kirk’s General Assembly, which opens in Edinburgh on Saturday, will hear that presbyteries have voted to deny ministers freedom of pastoral conscience in relation to the blessing of same-sex partnerships. Assuming the assembly endorses the results, such blessings by ministers will be banned, once legislation has been put in place.
“Gays and lesbians have been treated shamefully by the churches for centuries. To me, it is unjust that Christian people in same-sex partnerships will be denied the church’s benediction for the crime of expressing love in the way God made them. What I find distressing is the dishonesty which surrounds this issue. It’s no secret that there are plenty of fine clergy and lay people in the Kirk and in the Roman Catholic Church who are gay or lesbian. They help to keep the church going, yet they have grown used to hearing homosexuals vilified. Most have responded with extraordinary grace.
“Nevertheless, the voting figures don’t lie. It’s make-your-mind-up time. Well, I will respond affirmatively to requests for a blessing ceremony where this is pastorally appropriate, whatever the church decides. I fully recognise the right of churches to discipline their clergy, and I will accept the inevitable consequences of my decision. I’ll remain a lay member of the Church of Scotland which has given me so much.”
“As I pack my bags in readiness, I hope the debate rises above the toe-curling cry of “hetero is bettero!” which was used as a refrain by a ranting speaker at one presbytery meeting. (No, I’m not making this up.) I’m not deceiving myself that my own decision will somehow be influential. It is a simple, personal testimony. I believe passionately that when same-sex partners seek the blessing of a generous God upon their loving commitment to each other, they should not have to face yet more rejection.
“To my mind, a Kirk which allowed its ministers to bless nuclear weapons but not loving relations between consenting Christians would make a travesty of the Gospel.
“There are indeed rare moments in life when it becomes clear what you have to do. This, for me, is one of them.”
Full story at The Herald.