Page last updated at 20:57 GMT, Friday, 3 July 2009 21:57 UK

Gay minister inducted at service

The Rev Scott Rennie
The Reverend Scott Rennie said he was looking forward to the role

The gay minister whose appointment sparked a furious debate in the Church of Scotland has been formally inducted in Aberdeen.

The Reverend Scott Rennie was introduced to his congregation at a service at Queen's Cross Church.

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

After arriving in Aberdeen, Mr Rennie said he was looking forward to serving God in the city.

The issue had gone to the General Assembly which narrowly voted in favour.

But there has been a two-year ban on the ordination of gay ministers and a special commission is considering the issue.

Robert Pigott
Robert Pigott
BBC's religious affairs correspondent

Scott Rennie, who has been a minister for 10 years, had a child with his former wife but now lives in an openly gay relationship.

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

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

The assembly approved Mr Rennie's appointment, but then imposed a two-year moratorium on the ordination of gay clergy while a specially convened group considered the issue.

As the assembly met to debate the issue, Mr Rennie said other instructions in the Bible - such as those about stoning adulterers - were no longer followed, adding "we've moved on from that".

Mr Rennie, 37, a divorced father-of-one, was minister at Brechin Cathedral but was appointed to Queen's Cross earlier this year, where he is expected to preach his first sermon a week on Sunday.

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 Church.

He arrived in Aberdeen on Friday afternoon, and said he was anticipating "many happy years" at the church.

The induction ceremony at the west end church took place at 1900 BST.

A spokeswoman for Aberdeen Presbytery said: "I think everything is more settled now.

"The congregation want Scott to be their minister and I'm sure they're now just ready to get on with things.

"Towards the end of the service, Scott will be asked to take vows about his beliefs. Thereafter, he'll be the minister."

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