Sunday, April 4, 2010

Out Spotlight

Today's Out Spotlight is Rev. Scott Rennie FRSA, a Scottish theologian, and minister in the Church of Scotland.

Rennie was born on March 31, 1972 in Aberdeen,Scotland where he was also raised. He attended university in Aberdeen as well studying Geography at the University of Aberdeen, and then Divinity at Christ's College, Aberdeen, following his call for ministry.

Brought up in the conservative Church of Scotland (Presbyterian Church in the US) he was torn between his faith and his sexuality.

"As a young man growing up in a conservative church, it felt impossible to deal with issues around my own sexuality. It did not feel like a safe environment, and certainly not one in which I could have found support and understanding. So, I came to believe that I had to ignore it and do what I thought was the right thing at the time: live a heterosexual life."

Rennie did what he thought he was the right thing, live a heterosexual life, settling down and getting married. The marriage lasted five years before they separated and divorced. Rennie and his ex-wife have a daughter.
He served as Assistant Minister at Queen's Cross Church, Aberdeen, and came to United States for a Masters in Sacred Theology at Union Theological Seminary in New York City on fellowship. He was the minister of Brechin Cathedral in the Church of Scotland from November 1999 until July 2009. He now serves as the minister of Queen's Cross Church, Aberdeen. But getting there was not easy.
In November 2008, Rev. Rennie preached as the sole nominee for the pastor of the Queen's Cross Church, disclosing to the congregation about his sexual orientation as a part of the process of interviewing with the church. At the conclusion of the service, following a secret ballot, he was duly declared Minister Elect by 140 votes to 28. Subsequent to this, the pastoral call was signed by 246 yeahs to 13 nays by the voting church members on the church's roll. And from being a candidate receiving a call to a pulpit, changed the Church of Scotland.
The call from Queen's Cross Church was upheld by the Presbytery of Aberdeen(the governing body over that area of Church of Scotland churches) on January 6, 2009 by 60 votes to 24. This was the first time that both congregation and presbytery had voted to extend the call for a openly homosexual minister within the Church of Scotland. However, following the vote which allowed Rev. Rennie to proceed to Queen's Cross Parish Church's pastor, a group of 12 ministers and elders within the Presbytery, lead by the Rev Ian Aitken, dissented and formally complained to the Commission of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
That March, following a narrow majority of 1, Commission vote that the case be sent to the General Assembly, the Church's supreme court, for judgment. It was the first time that a presbytery's decision in the call of a minister had been challenged in the church's supreme court since 1843.

On the same evening that Rev. Rennie's case was heard, an motion was to be received from the Presbytery of Lochcarron-Skye which, in the light of Rev. Rennie's call to Queen's Cross, sought to prevent anyone in an extra-marital sexual relationship from working in the church. This was seen as move by some in the Church of Scotland of setting up the legal roadblock against Rev. Rennie's appointment.

"No court or agency of the Church may accept for training, ordain, admit, re-admit, induct or introduce to any ministry of the Church anyone involved in a sexual relationship outside of faithful marriage between a man and a woman."

The debate began not only within the church, but the public and the media. The members of Queens Cross church did not see why there would be a problem with the choice for the pastorate and stood by their decision.

Judith Pearson and Trevor Salmon, of Queen's Cross Church, wrote to The Herald newspaper, in Aberdeen, in support of Rev. Rennie, saying:

"The congregation were fully conversant with all relevant facts before they voted for and signed the call to Scott Rennie. Our call is based upon his gifts and our corresponding needs, and upon our real sense that he is the person best equipped to serve alongside us and to offer leadership to us."

The case against Rev. Rennie for the pastorate, going before the Assmebly was titled Aitken and Others versus the Presbytery of Aberdeen, was intended to answer the following question:

"What was the law of the Church at the time (6 January 2009) the Presbytery of Aberdeen made the decision that has been challenged; and was the Presbytery entitled to make the decision it made in the light of the legal position at that time?."

While having support from Queen's Cross, going to before the General Assembly was not without its opposition for Rev. Rennie from others within the the Church of Scotland.

The Rev Dr William J. U. Philip, the minister of St George's-Tron Church, Glasgow, and the group Forward Together, a founded an online petition in order to support this overture, which received 12,555 signatures, including 481 Church of Scotland Ministers and 33 Kirk Sessions, and also to express their opposition to the appointment of Rev. Rennie.

Forward Together is organization, representing 600 ministers and members within the Church of Scotland which acts as a pressure group on a variety of issues. It supports traditional biblical values on all issues including civil partnerships, same-sex blessings and embryonic stem cell research. In 2007 is was successful in securing the rejection of same-sex blessings in the Church 36 to 9.

On the opening day of the General Assembly, an attempt was made to change the order of business by hearing the Locharran-Skye overture before the Rennie case, against the legal advice of the Overture and Appeals Committee.The attempt to change the order of business was seen by some as being designed to strengthen the cause of those opposed to Rev. Rennie's appointment. Defending the motion, Rev. Peter Parks argued that it would be illogical to decide a specific case without having already established the principle against which by the case would be tested. The General Assembly was unconvinced and defeated Rev. Parks's motion by a wide margin.

On the day of Rev. Rennie's hearing on May 23rd, a protest against the appointment was held outside the General Assembly Hall by around twenty members of Glasgow's Zion Baptist Church. The American group, Westboro Baptist Church, under Rev. Fred Phelps had announced its intention to picket the meeting of the General Assembly on 23rd and Queen's Cross Church the following day May. Thankful Phelps group did not show up. A counter-protest was held by a number of groups, including Liberal Youth Scotland, the Scottish youth wing of the Liberal Democrats, which attracted around eighty demonstrators.

On May 23rd, the General Assembly voted 326 to 267 to uphold the nomination of Rev. Rennie as pastor for Queens Cross Church, Aberdeen. There were 121 members of the chuch who formally dissented in writing against the decision.

The debate on the case set to be used to defeat Rennie's appointment, Lochcarron-Skye sent into committee with a two-year Special Commission on the issue reporting in 2011.
The work is not over, for now a moratorium on the induction and ordination of openly gay ministers was passed until that time of review, and a ban on making public statements concerning the induction and ordination of gay ministers also came into effect.

During all this other motions against Rev. Rennie were filed with the church.

In January 2009, a censurable allegation was made against Rev. Rennie, that his 'lifestyle' constitutes a great 'public scandal' to keep him for taking the pulpit at Queen's Cross. A committee of three was formed to investigate this allegation, but were suspended due to the case which was pending before the General Assembly.

On June 3rd, Committee met to consider the allegation against Rev. Rennie that his 'lifestyle' was not acceptable for a minister of the gospel. However, this charge was not upheld and Rev. Rennie was inducted into the paster of Queen's Cross Parish Church on July 3rd. On Sunday July 5th, the Very Rev. Dr James Simpson, a former moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, led worship and preached the first sermon welcoming Rennie into the church's pastorate.

Rev. Rennie was nominated, and won, the award of 'Hero of the Year' at the Fourth Annual Stonewall Awards in 2009. On March 24, 2010 he was given the ceremonial role of Burgess of Guild of the City of Aberdeen.

Rennie and his partner, Dr. David Smith FRSA, a Biblical Studies scholar live in Aberdeen Scotland, where he is the pastor of Queen's Cross Church. He is serving as a member of the Church of Scotland's Taskforce on Human Sexuality, and currently working towards a Doctor of Ministry degree at the University of Aberdeen and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

Happy Easter!


Special K said...

Happy Easter to all who celebrate.

Yes there is joy today, Easter and Opening Day of baseball.

No I didn't wear my Red Sox jersey as my Easter outfit to church. But I'll be wearing it for Easter Dinner.

My Easter bonnet of choice? My Red Sox cap of course

Have great day.

Happy Easter and GO SOX! Beat the Yankees.

destiny said...

Happy Easter to all who are celebrating.

Off to a good friend's place for her annual Easter brunch. She puts on a huge feast, and I always look forward to it.

Yes, Virginia, you can tell whether people are gay said...

But research shows that people who remain in what's known as "the glass closet" are fooling only a small slice of the populace, and that human beings have a staggeringly good ability to judge sexual orientation.

"We've found that 'gaydar' has quite a bit, if not perfect, accuracy," said J. Michael Bailey, a Northwestern University psychology professor who has researched people's ability to guess other people's sexuality.

In a 2008 study, Bailey found that gay and straight people who viewed the videos correctly identified straight people 87 percent of the time and correctly identified homosexual people 75 percent of the time. The research, involving about 50 subjects and 50 raters, also found that gay and lesbian people don't have much of an advantage over straight people when it comes to guessing whether a person is gay or straight.


"Certainly acting, dancing and singing are interests that are more common among gay men than straight men. Obviously, not all actors and dancers who are male are gay, but there's a higher-than-average number of them that are."

In recent years, a number of celebrities long suspected of being gay have left the glass closet: Neil Patrick Harris and Lance Bass, as well as "American Idol" singer Clay Aiken. Harris and Bass cited intense Internet speculation about their sexuality as one of the reasons they decided to come out.

These revelations can only up the confidence Americans have in their gaydar, raising the stakes for others out there who have long been the subject of sexual-preference speculation. But there's also a far greater acceptance of homosexuality, both in Hollywood and in American culture in general. Which allows someone like Martin to leave the closet behind and state publicly: "I am very blessed to be who I am."


pinky said...

Jake's sporting a pinky ring... looks nice
about 1 hour ago

Name: Allan
Bio: Just a middle aged white male American looking for the meaning of life. What if the Hokey Pokey is what it's all about?

PoP tweets said...

BeingHuman3: Jake Gyllenhaal also stated it took 20 minutes just to get into his boots for Prince of Persia.

Ross Miller said...

Crazy: Went to a cocktail party last night with Nic Cage and Jake Gyllenhall. Crazier: People really only cared about the wandering iPads
about 1 hour ago

more pics said...

More pics of Jake at WonderCon

WoW said...

What a great OutSpotlight today, hope everyone had a very nice Easter. Weather is gorgeous, and Red Sox tonight, who could ask for more? Maybe a dry basement, but that's ok.

I don't know why people have a need to go around guessing people's sexuality? Just let be. I think there's something to gaydar maybe, but it's certainly not infallible, stereotypes. I hung out with many, many musicians and wannabe musicians, and straight men do like music. I was introduced to lots of music that way. ;)

m said...

Thanks to the wonders of technology and you tube, I've managed to see almost all of the wonder con stuff. Jake seemed nervous at first, but calmed down and seemed to be having a good time. He is way more relaxed post Reeke. It must be difficult though to talk about something that happened a while ago. POP filming must seem like a different lifetime. His head is in a completely different place now.

Happy Easter to all.

Jersey Tom said...

Happy Easter everyone. Enjoy.

HP said...

Huffington Post Entertainment page has WonderCon picture of Jake with "PICS: Jake Gyllenhaal Looks Hot, Wears Pinkie Ring" caption
and link to the short article with Jake Gyllenhaal Does WonderCon For 'Prince Of Persia' (PHOTOS) title:

"Jake Gyllenhaal took part in Disney's presentation of "Prince of Persia" at WonderCon on Saturday.

And he looked fantastic.

Also at WonderCon was a newly-blonde Nicolas Cage.

Gyllenhaal was there with Jerry Bruckheimer and Mike Newell, who said the star did a lot of his own stunts."

Huffington Post - Jake Gyllenhaal Looks Hot, Wears Pinkie Ring

Want to see interviews said...

Does anyone have a link to any of the wonder con interviews? I would like to read see them.

Interviews said...

^^ Should be: " See Them"

Stubborn TB said...

Does anyone have a link to any of the wonder con interviews? I would like to read see them.

IHJ has a few good links on their main site.
Red Carpet
Press conference

Jake is as endearing as always, I especially love the press conference because it's almost a one-on-one situation and he always does best there.

There seem to be millions more on Youtube, you can just click through them on the right side.

pot said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
FT said...

Special, could you please delete 8:52 PM? Thanks.

Special K said...

NorthernLB40: if they ever make a movie about the red sox franchise..dana carvey would play john henry and jake gyllenhaal would play theo epstein
about 1 hour ago from mobile web · Reply · View Tweet

Jake as Theo? From the tweet to God's ears.

I don't know if I could handle Jake playing Theo who was the youngest General Manager in baseball and made the trades to get us the first World Series Title in 86 years. Too much! Too much! : )

I have a picture of Theo sitting in my Red Sox shrine I put in there 6 years ago.

Back to the game. : )

more proof that Jackie and SK are the same said...

LOL said...

^What are you smoking?

FT said...

^^^ Trolly is bored.

Ryan: crackwhore said...

The same thing Ryan and you are gasbag!!!

Interviews said...

Thanks for the links Stubborn.

tweet said...

i was just standing next to jake gyllenhaal at the airport and passed by him 4 times and hes so much more fucking sexy in person. i melted. 16 minutes ago via web


latino review said...

2 new PoP ads

friendly said...

No one mentioned or even brought up the blogger who accused Jake of hitting a female that was with the blogger one night at a bar in Toronto where Jake is currently filming Source Code. Jake looked in good spirits and stayed close to a friend or two that was with him.

Gossip Boy

LOL! said...

JamesGrindrod: @stephenfry Just seen a picture of Jake Gyllenhaal with an iPad. That's gay geek porn. Am quite overcome. Which would I try first!!

destiny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
destiny said...

I don't know why people have a need to go around guessing people's sexuality? Just let be. I think there's something to gaydar maybe, but it's certainly not infallible, stereotypes.

People who are gay are always wondering if the people around them are gay. It comes from being in a minority and wanting to know there are other gay people around you and finding a sense of community. For example, I like going to a restaurant that has a lot of gay customers, and I do notice that when I'm in such a restaurant. It's about being in a place where you feel welcomed, and know that if you want to be affectionate with your partner, everyone is not going to stare at you or act as if you're some alien. Believe me, I've been in places in small towns where I felt that way, and would not engage in pdas from fear of the reaction.

And when you're unattached, you don't want to find yourself coming on to some homophobe that could knock the shit out of you. You need gaydar to find potential partners.

Finally, I know you didn't mean it that way WoW, but in my experience the only people who say sexual identity doesn't matter are straight, and are often people who don't want gay people to be openly gay. I see that kind of comment all the time on posts around the internet about gay or rumored to be gay celebs. When straight people talk about their partner and get seen together, and nobody says they are talking about their sexuality. When a gay person does the exact same thing, you get those comments about "they shouldn't talk about their sex lives, that's private."

Being gay should not affect how you are treated and whether you are accepted in society. But it doesn't mean your identity as a gay person shouldn't be acknowledged.

little kids said...

Jake Gyllenhaal Talks Prince of Persia, iPad, and Beautiful Rachel McAdams in SF!

WonderCon came to San Francisco this weekend, which meant lots of star power in the Bay Area including a very handsome Jake Gyllenhaal — check out Buzz's take on all the highlights with videos to come soon! Jerry Bruckheimer joined Jake who chatted about playing video games as research for Prince of Persia and how he feels about the 3D trend in movies. After the panels Jake headed to the Disney cocktail party, where the iPad was the talk of the town and of course Jake had one to play with. Jake told us how excited he is to see himself as a Lego for Prince of Persia, a toy that he still gets to play with thanks to the little kids in his life. He's currently filming Source Code in Canada with Vera Farmiga, which he said has been an amazing experience. Jake also got cute talking about how gorgeous Rachel McAdams looked on Oscar night, though he admitted that he left a few footprints on her long dress! Stay tuned for lots more details from the festival to come.


WoW said...

People who are gay are always wondering if the people around them are gay. It comes from being in a minority and wanting to know there are other gay people around you and finding a sense of community.

Destiny, I should have been more clear. I realized after I posted that I was going to have to clarify what I wrote, and I wasn't able to yesterday. So here goes. I'm well aware of what you wrote here. I wasn't speaking in terms of gay people; this article makes it sound like a straight people-watching pastime, which I found disrespectful and quite honestly, dumb. I also understand how important it is for people to come out - I wasn't speaking in terms of these things, just general stereotypical guessing games. This reminded me of the discussion over at WFT2 about gaydar. :)