Thirty-five Church of Scotland parishes have united in a campaign of non co-operation with the Kirk’s recent decision on the ordination of homosexual ministers.
In May the Kirk’s General assembly voted to uphold the appointment of an openly gay man, Revd Scott Rennie, to a church in Aberdeen.
At the same meeting the Assembly banned further appointments of gay clergy, and all public discussion of the issue, until a special commission publishes a report in 2011.
Now the 35 rebel parishes have publicly said they will not accept the ordination of practising homosexuals under any circumstances.
The congregations have signed a covenant compiled by an evangelical group, the Fellowship of Confessing Churches, and plan to display it in prominent places in their church buildings.
According to the covenant, signatories “recognise God’s creation of humankind as male and female and the unchangeable standard of Christian marriage between one man and one woman as the proper place for sexual intimacy and the basis of the family”.
It continues: “We acknowledge the great harm that has come from our failures to maintain this standard, and we repent and call for a renewed commitment to lifelong fidelity in marriage and abstinence for those who are not married.”
Revd William Philip, of St George’s Tron in Glasgow, said: “I’m very glad that the fellowship gives our congregation an opportunity to publicly make a stand for the orthodox Christian Gospel, so that anyone who comes to our church knows this is what we believe in.”
Revd Rennie, a divorced father-of-one who lives with his male partner, was appointed as minister of Queen’s Cross Parish Church in November, sparking deep controversy within the Church of Scotland.
A petition opposing his appointment attracted some 12,000 signatures. Ministers have said the decision to uphold the appointment will alienate many of the Kirk’s grassroots members.