Just days after the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly voted to approve the ordination of an openly gay minister, it has decided to avoid a potentially damaging debate on the issue of gay clergy.

The assembly is meeting in Edinburgh decided that a commission should be establish to examine the issue and report back in 2011.

On Friday night, the openly gay Scott Rennie was approved by 326 votes to 267 to become the new minister at Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen.

The Queen’s Cross Church congregation had earlier voted overwhelmingly to select him as their minister but the move was opposed by anti-gay traditionalists.

Rennie said: “I am humbled that the General Assembly has recognised God’s call upon my life as well as the rights of the congregation of Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen.

“I am grateful that the nature of the discussion tonight was measured and respectful of different views shared amongst us.
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“I’m looking forward to moving to Queen’s Cross, getting on with the task of serving my new parish. “My prayer is that now the members of the Church of Scotland can journey together and focus on providing pastoral care, meaningful worship and a prophetic voice of hope in our nation.”

The ordination of Rennie, who lives openly with his partner, to Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen had threatened to create a schism in the Church of Scotland.

It has been described as the biggest issue to face the Church in 160 years, after the disruption of 1843.