An openly gay minister in Scotland whose appointment to Queen's Cross Church in January caused major controversy is preparing to take up the role on July 3.

Reverend Scott Rennie, 37, withstood a challenge by religious conservatives in the Church of Scotland, a Presbyterian denomination, to his appointment last month.

Church leaders voted to keep Rennie as minister, despite a vocal campaign mounted by opponents – going so far as likening supporters of gay clergy to Nazis – and a petition drive that attracted almost 12,000 signatures from clergy representing various denominations worldwide.

Afterward, the church voted in favor of a moratorium on gay clergy.

The Anglican Communion is facing a crisis over the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.

The crisis began in 2003 in the United States when the Episcopal Church – the Anglican body in the U.S. – consecrated the first openly gay bishop, Rev. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.

Rennie will conduct his final service at Brechin Cathedral on June 28, the BBC reported.