Highlands & Islands

Lewis congregations might leave Church of Scotland

Two congregations on Lewis are considering leaving the Church of Scotland over the ordination of gay ministers.

Kinloch and Stornoway High Church of Scotland are unhappy with the way the Kirk has handled the issue.

Kinloch minister, the Rev Iain Murdo Campbell, said the General Assembly should not have tackled the matter.

The Church of Scotland said it had not been informed of congregations wishing to leave the Kirk.

The Rev Campbell said allowing gay clergy went against the word of God.

He said: "If the word of God had the authority, which it should have, the question and debate should not have been in the General Assembly in the first place."

Over the past few years a number of ministers have left the Church of Scotland over the issue of gay clergy.

The Reverend Paul Gibson resigned his charge of Tain Parish Church after just eight months into the post.

The Reverend Ivor MacDonald left Kilmuir and Stenscholl on Skye and the Reverend John Murdo MacDonald resigned from Lochalsh.

Status quo

A Church of Scotland spokesman said the Kirk had not been informed of any congregation wishing to leave following last week's General Assembly and would be saddened if this was the case.

The spokesman said: "The decision made last Monday on the long-running debate on the issue of ministers in same sex relationships maintains the Church of Scotland's traditional stance on the doctrine of human sexuality whilst giving the go-ahead in principle, and subject to ratification at the 2014 and 2015 General Assemblies, for individual Kirk sessions to determine whether their congregation might call a minister in a civil partnership if it chooses to do so."

The Church of Scotland's legal questions committee and theological forum will report to next year's General Assembly about how this will be achieved.

The spokesman added: "In the meantime courts and committees of the General Assembly will maintain the status quo.

"We hope the debate on this matter will be proactive and constructive."

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