Church of Scotland to decide on same-sex marriage proposals

Ministers, elders, deacons and special guests are gathering for the first hybrid General Assembly.

Church of Scotland to decide on same-sex marriage proposals Church of Scotland
Ministers, elders, deacons and special guests are gathering for the first hybrid General Assembly in Edinburgh.

Leaders of the Church of Scotland are to vote on whether or not ministers can conduct same-sex marriages.

The General Assembly started in Edinburgh over the weekend. Members could approve a wide range of issues, including support for a ban on conversion therapy.

The gathering is the first hybrid General Assembly with ministers, elders, deacons and special guests attending both in-person and virtually.

Commissioners to the annual gathering will on Monday be asked to consider approving an overture to change a standing Church law to enable parish ministers and deacons to apply to become authorised celebrants to conduct same-sex ceremonies.

Moderator Rev Iain Greenshields is installed in a ceremony at the beginning of The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland by his predecessor Jim Wallace, Baron Wallace of Tankerness.Church of Scotland
Moderator Rev Iain Greenshields is installed in a ceremony at the beginning of The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland by his predecessor Jim Wallace, Baron Wallace of Tankerness.

If the overture is approved, ministers and deacons will be able to conduct same-sex ceremonies if they wish but they would not have to participate in marriage ceremonies if they do not wish to do so.

A report earlier this month found the majority of presbyteries in Scotland were in favour of same-sex marriages.

The General Assembly is also expected to welcome a historic declaration of friendship with the Catholic Church in Scotland, based on their shared faith in Christ.

Other topics that will be discussed include the war in Ukraine and the Kirk’s work around social care through its CrossReach service.

On Saturday, a letter from the Queen was read during the opening ceremony by Reverend Dr George Whyte, chaplain-in-ordinary and principal clerk of the Church of Scotland.

The monarch applauded Church of Scotland congregations for welcoming Ukrainian refugees amid the ongoing Russian invasion.

Queen Elizabeth also thanked parishioners for their “Christian concern for God’s creation” in the bid to tackle climate change, as well as helping others during the Covid-19 pandemic.