Aberdeen minister resigns over gay clergy

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A church minister in Aberdeen has resigned over the issue of gay clergy.

Reverend Peter Dickson, of High Church in Hilton, said he felt “genuine sorrow” at taking the decision.

He said that the decision to accept openly gay clergy meant his position was becoming “untenable”.

Rev Dickson said in a statement: “The Church of Scotland wants, sadly, to move on from the Bible and it has walked away from the teaching of Christ. This tragic drift away from the gospel makes a ministry like mine increasingly untenable.”

He added: “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.”

Tensions over gay clergy kicked off in 2009, when an openly gay man was appointed minister of Queens Cross Church in Aberdeen.

After Scott Rennie’s appointment, a two-year moratorium on gay clergy was imposed. This was lifted in May, although the general assembly has not yet decided whether to allow sexually-active gay clergy or demand celibacy from gay ministers.

The elected council at High Church said it was “deeply saddened” by the minister’s resignation and claimed many of the congregation would also leave.

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

“Throughout the last three years of disagreement with the Church of Scotland it has been our principal aim to maintain a united congregation at High Church, Hilton around the integrity of the gospel we proclaim.

“Regrettably the decisions of the Church of Scotland are increasingly to accommodate modern secular thought within the church. These decisions are not matched by dealing with the direct consequences that flow from them. Sadly, no suitable accommodation for those of us wishing to honour a traditional orthodox understanding of scripture has been found.”