The Moderator of the Church of Scotland is to visit Stornoway and preach to the isles’ congregation who stayed with the church following the gay clergy row.
The Right Reverend John Chalmers, Moderator of the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly, had previously tried to prevent a split in the congregation of Stornoway High, which was one of the Kirk’s biggest congregations.
However, in May, a group of 250 worshippers – including the entire kirk session – left to join the Free Church after the General Assembly voted to allow gay men and women to become ministers.
Chalmers previously praised the vote as historic and said it was “a massive vote for the peace and unity of the church.”
The issue, nevertheless, has caused divisions in some congregations, with anti-equality opponents arguing that it “goes against the word of God”.
The visit by Rt Rev Chalmer this Sunday is seen as a morale boost for the 100 strong congregation that stayed to worship at Stornoway High.
The new Free Church congregation is currently worshipping in a primary school in Stornoway.
The Moderator will be on Lewis for a week, with his main preaching engagement at Stornoway High on Sunday when he takes the morning service.
He will later participate in the evening service at Martin’s Memorial Church, also in Stornoway.
Earlier this year, amid the looming split, Chalmers visited Stornoway High in his then role as the principal clerk to the Church of Scotland and answered queries at a congregational meeting.