Page last updated at 14:31 GMT, Friday, 6 November 2009

Gay minister given 'hero award'

The Rev Scott Rennie
Mr Rennie was given the award at a ceremony in London

A gay minister whose appointment divided opinion within the Church of Scotland has been honoured by a gay rights group.

The Reverend Scott Rennie was made "Hero of the Year" by Stonewall, the group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Mr Rennie's appointment to a new parish in Aberdeen caused controversy with hundreds signing an online petition.

The 37-year-old was previously a minister at Brechin Cathedral.

In his acceptance speech, Mr Rennie said: "Because I do not see myself as a hero, I would rather accept this on behalf of all those in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community who contribute to the life of churches and faith communities, simply by living out love in their lives, for God, for their neighbour, and who share their gifts with those communities in the hope of making a difference to the world they live in."

Mr Rennie has been a minister for 10 years. He was married and had one child with his wife, but he is now divorced and in a gay relationship.

His appointment as minister at Queen's Cross Church in Aberdeen was denounced by traditionalists who insisted that the Bible outlawed active homosexuality.

About 400 ministers and 5,000 church members signed a petition against the appointment, and an unsuccessful attempt was made at the church's General Assembly to overturn it.

Carl Watt, director, Stonewall Scotland, said: "We're proud to give Scott this award in recognition of the courage, dignity and leadership he has shown over the past year.

"The Stonewall Awards offer the opportunity to celebrate work across Britain in all walks of life championing gay equality."

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