Page last updated at 15:14 GMT, Friday, 24 July 2009 16:14 UK

Reverend quits over gay minister

Rev Thomas MacKinnon
Mr Mackinnon told his congregation of his decision

A minister has resigned in protest over the appointment of the Church of Scotland's first openly gay minister, BBC Scotland understands.

The Reverend Thomas Mackinnon has told his Kilmuir and Logie Easter congregation, near Invergordon, of his decision to demit, or resign his post.

The Reverend Scott Rennie, who is in a same sex relationship, is minister of Queen's Cross Church in Aberdeen.

He was inducted to the post at the beginning of the month.

The Church of Scotland said: "Ministers demit their charges for a variety of reasons, for example, to serve as an army chaplain or to work in the church's central offices.

"This would always require the permission of Presbytery."

Online petition

Hundreds of ministers and thousands of Church of Scotland members signed an online petition opposing the move.

Mr Rennie, 37, a divorced father-of-one, was minister at Brechin Cathedral but was appointed to Queen's Cross earlier this year.

The Rev Scott Rennie
The Reverend Scott Rennie was inducted in Aberdeen

He has been open about his relationship with his partner and plans to live with him in the manse in Aberdeen.

Some sections of the Church of Scotland feared Mr Rennie's appointment could cause the greatest divide since the Disruption of 1843, when part of the Kirk broke away to form the Free Kirk.

Mr Rennie had been backed by the majority of the congregation at Queen's Cross.

Mr Mackinnon could not be contacted for a comment.

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