Highlands & Islands

Most Stornoway High Church members back split from Kirk

More than 230 members of one of the Church of Scotland's biggest congregations on the Western Isles have supported leaving the Kirk.

Stornoway High Church consulted on a split after the General Assembly voted in May for a proposal that would allow gay men and women to become ministers.

The issue has caused divisions in some congregations, with opponents arguing that it goes against the word of God.

Legislation will be drafted for next year.

It will then go to regional presbyteries and return for final approval in 2015.

The Lewis Presbytery of the Church of Scotland carried out the consultation of Stornoway High Church members. The process was overseen by the Kirk's Council of Assembly.

Of the members who were asked, 236 indicated a desire to leave the Church of Scotland, 103 said they wanted remain within its care and 121 did not respond.

The Reverend Tom Sinclair, clerk to Lewis Presbytery, said: "While we respect the views of those who cannot agree with the Church's preliminary position on this matter, our spiritual responsibility, as a presbytery, is to those who wish to remain in the Church of Scotland.

"In the event that some members and adherents leave, there will be continued provision for all who wish to remain within the care of the Church of Scotland."

The future of the High Church is to be discussed at a meeting next week.

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