A growing number of churches are joining together against the ordination of a gay minister in Scotland.
The Church of Scotland appointed Scott Rennie, a divorced father-of-one who lives with his homosexual partner, as minister of a church in Aberdeen in July.
Now a group of like-minded congregations set up to oppose the move says it has received more than 100 requests for application packs from churches wanting to join.
The Fellowship of Confessing Churches say 46 churches are already members.
The group says any church which becomes a member should prominently display a covenant agreement making clear its commitment to marriage as the proper place for sexual intimacy.
The covenant says: “We recognize 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.
“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.”
The covenant continues: “We reject the authority of those who have denied the orthodox faith in word or deed.”
In August, 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.”
All public discussion by Kirk clergy about homosexual ordination is banned until a Special Commission publishes a report on the subject in 2011.
A two-year moratorium is also in place on appointing further gay ministers, although a homosexual man in a civil partnership was recently accepted to begin training for the ministry.
When Revd Rennie’s ordination was being discussed two ministers warned that his appointment could alienate the Kirk’s “grassroots” members.
Revd David Court and Revd William Philip said that the General Assembly had publicly proclaimed “as holy what God, the Bible, and orthodox Christianity all down the ages, and all over the world, unambiguously call sin.
“This is about far more than just sexuality. The very nature of the Christian gospel is at stake”, they added.