An open letter from Reverend Scott Kirkland, minister at Lucaya Presbyterian Church in the Bahamas following recent press coverage:
For media outlets to suggest that my congregation is leaving the Church of Scotland because of the General Assembly’s decision to uphold the call of an openly gay minister is simply not true (various reports 17 and 18 May 2010).
It has been a long-held ambition of the Kirk’s congregations in the Bahamas to form our own denomination, following the example of many other churches around the world which began their life under the wing of the Church of Scotland.
Senior elders speak of having advocated this move as long as fifteen years ago, and since 2005 the World Mission Council has been encouraging the fulfilment of this dream.
Whilst the formation of a Presbyterian Church of the Bahamas remains our goal, at this stage the Kirk Sessions agree that we do not have the capacity to run a denomination on our own.
Therefore, as an interim step, we propose to affiliate to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in the USA. Unlike the Presbyterian Church (USA), this denomination is willing to admit to full membership congregations outside the borders of the USA and have had the exact experience we are looking for with St Andrews Presbytery of Argentina.
Furthermore it has a Presbytery in Florida, very close to the Bahamas, where the two congregations can have the experience of being part of a working Presbytery and benefit from the capacity and supervision which it offers.
All of the above is publicly available in the World Mission report to this year’s General Assembly, which reporters extensively quote from and presumably read.
To suggest that our decision has been made in the recent past because of the Scott Rennie case is not only wildly inaccurate reporting but has caused great offence to myself and my congregation and we cannot let that go unanswered.
Reverend Scott Kirkland
Minister of Lucaya Presbyterian Church