A Wisconsin man is expected to become the first openly gay candidate ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) since the church opened ordination to gay candidates earlier this year.
Scott Anderson, who serves as executive director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches, will be ordained to the Ministry of Teaching Elder. An estimated 400 people from around the country are expected to attend the service, which is being held Oct. 8 at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Madison, Wis.
“It’s hard to believe it’s finally happening,” Anderson said in a released statement on Friday. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) officially began allowing the ordination of openly gay and lesbian candidates on July 10.
In May, Twin Cities Presbyterians cast the historic vote to allow openly gay and lesbian members to be ordained ministers. Presbyterian leaders say the Twin Cities vote was the action needed to end the 2.1 million-member denomination’s national ban on gay clergy.
The denomination, based in Louisville, Ky., is the latest mainline Protestant group to move toward accepting same-gender relationships.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the largest Lutheran group in the country, liberalized its policy toward gay clergy two years ago. The United Church of Christ started ordaining openly gay clergy in 1972, and more recently endorsed same-sex marriage. In 2003, the Episcopal Church caused an uproar in the global Anglican fellowship by consecrating the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.