At the ceremony Sunday, Scott Anderson, 56, now executive director of the Wisconsin Council of Churches, will take back the stole he wore as pastor of two Presbyterian congregations in California, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. He had donated it to Shower of Stoles, a project meant to demonstrate what the Presbyterian Church had lost by barring homosexuals from the ministry.
Anderson, who grew up in California, said he realized he was gay while he was a student at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey. But he remained in the closet for several years until he was outed in 1990 and admitted his sexual orientation to his congregation in what he calls "the best and worst moment of my life."
He remained in the Presbyterian Church even though he believed the denomination would not accept gay ministers in his lifetime. Years later, he was the only open homosexual on a national task force that eventually recommended opening the ministry to gays and lesbians.
"This has been 20 years of God surprising me, really," Anderson said.
He is to be ordained Saturday at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Madison. He plans to remain with the council while he decides on his next step.