First church set to split from the Kirk over gay clergy row

The Church of Scotland looks set to lose its first congregation following its decision to permit openly homosexual clergy last month.

The congregation at Gilcomston South Church in Aberdeen will formally vote on whether to leave the Kirk later this year.

Revd Dominic Smart, the church’s minister, said the Kirk’s governing body had “marginalised the Bible by approving the practice of same-sex relationships for ordained ministers”.


Revd Smart said: “It is therefore with great sadness that we feel we can no longer be part of the Church of Scotland, and will take such measures as will allow us and the congregation to leave the denomination.

“Our decision is not a knee-jerk reaction. It is the culmination of careful study, sincere discussion and prayer over the past two-and-half years.

“We have weighed up many different options and believe the decision we have reached has the most integrity.”


Before the break away can go ahead a majority of the congregation – which owns Gilcomston South Church – needs to back the proposal.

A spokesman for the Church of Scotland, said: “We have not received any official notification from the congregation that they are seceding from the Church of Scotland.”

The spokesman added: “It is disappointing that any congregation would feel the need to leave the church when no final decisions have been taken, and the church has agreed to hold more dialogue on this issue leading to a further report which will not be heard until 2013.”


Last month the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly voted in favour of allowing homosexual men and lesbians to serve as church ministers. The decision applies to clergy who have declared their homosexuality and were ordained before May 2009.

The future ordination and training of gay and lesbian clergy will be decided in 2013 when a theological commission publishes a report on the matter.

Two other ministers have already announced their intention to leave the Church.

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