Next Saturday, October 8, Scott Anderson will be ordained to the Ministry of Teaching Elder at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Madison, WI, the first openly gay Presbyterian candidate after the Church opened ordination to LGBT members in July.
The historic shift represents decades of internal debate among Presbyterians—and has led some individual churches to break off. Anderson’s ordination was originally approved in early 2010 but was stalled until the church convention voted to lift the 2.1 million-member denomination’s ban on gay clergy. “It’s hard to believe it’s finally happening,” he says.
Despite the controversy lifting the ban has caused, Covenant seems happy to have Anderson, 54, who’s been with his partner for 20 years. “Scott’s grace under pressure, and his kindness and humility, were not just evident during his work with the [Committee on Preparation for Ministry ] but in every aspect of his involvement in the life of our congregation and the greater community of Madison.” says Covenant’s Rev. Nancy Enderle. “…This moment marks the Presbyterian Church living out God’s welcome to all.”