Three Highland ministers quit Kirk over gay clergy

image captionSome congregations threatening a breakaway, such as the High Church in Stornoway, have yet to leave

Three Highland Church of Scotland ministers have announced that they are to quit over the issue of gay clergy.

The Reverend Ivor MacDonald will leave Kilmuir and Stenscholl on Skye and the Reverend John Murdo MacDonald will quit Lochalsh.

They have told Lochcarron and Skye Presbytery of their decisions.

The Reverend Roddy McRae, of Kintail and Glenelg, had already said he was leaving but has yet to formally inform the presbytery.

The General Assembly voted in May to accept gay and lesbian clergy provided they had declared their sexuality and were ordained before May 2009.

However, no further gay clergy will be ordained until a theological commission has reported in 2013 and final decision has been made by the general assembly.

'Heavy heart'

The three west Highland ministers will leave the Kirk over the next few months.

Earlier this week, a minister in Aberdeen quit his role.

The Rev Peter Dickson, of High Church in Hilton, said he had taken the decision with a "heavy heart".

He claimed in a statement the Church of Scotland wanted to walk away from the teachings of Christ.

Mr Dickson opposed the selection of openly gay minister Scott Rennie to Queen's Cross church in Aberdeen in 2009.

Secret ballot

In June, a Western Isles congregation's plans to split from the Church of Scotland were put on hold.

The kirk session of the High Church in Stornoway, on Lewis, had recommended breaking away.

In a vote, 74% of the congregation backed the move.

However, the figure fell just short of the 80% threshold that the kirk session had agreed was necessary before a split could take place.

The congregation, which has about 400 members, voted in a secret ballot.

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