The Church of Scotland has imposed a two-year ban on new ordinations of gay ministers.

The decision comes just two days after the General Assembly voted 326-267 to allow openly gay Rev Scott Rennie to serve as minister at Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen.

A motion from the Presbytery of Lochcarron and Skye which demanded that the Church of Scotland should not accept anyone to be a minister or a deacon who is involved in a sexual relationship outside of marriage with a man or a woman was removed.

It was decided instead that a special commission should be set up to consider the matter of ordinations of gay clergy and report in 2011.

Church members have also been told not to talk to the media about the issue.

The move means the debate can effectively be avoided, after predictions it would create a schism in the Church of Scotland.

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

On Saturday night, his ordination was approved. The decision to impose the two-year ban will not affect his appointment.

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 new minister also added he hoped to enter into a civil partnership with his partner David, a religious education teacher.

He said: “I think very few people would have been prepared to stand by me and endure the last few months that David has.

“I think the Church needs to address the issue of civil partnership. I am sure we will go into one once the fuss has all died down and have some kind of private life back.”