Two ministers have quit the Church of Scotland, over the ordination of gay ministers, leaving the Western Highlands with only one full minister, reported STV, on Tuesday.
Rev David Macleod, of the Lochcarron, Applecross and Torridon parish, and Rev Roddy MacRae, of Glenelg and Kintail, decided to leave over what they described as the church’s continuing “drift from the teachings of the Bible.”
The two specifically signalled out the ordination of LGBTI ministers and the Kirk ‘s partnership with the Humanist Society of Scotland to lobby for religious observance in schools to be replaced with a “time for reflection,” as reasons for their departure.
In addition they also indicated they felt uncomfortable about growing support for assisted death in the church.
The ministers applied to join the Free Church of Scotland, leaving Portree’s minister the Rev Sandor Fazakas as the only serving full-time Kirk minister in the Western Highlands.
Rev Macleod, said: “Over the past few years I have found myself to be theologically less and less aligned with the Church of Scotland.
“I find myself now to have more in common with other denominations.
“I say this with a heavy heart and with much grief but I do not believe that I can continue in the context in which I find myself.”
While Rev MacRae, stated: “I have been wrestling with this in prayer for quite some time now, and although I have a heavy heart, it makes sense to join a denomination with like-minded people where I can be fully supported.”
Church of Scotland acting principal clerk George Whyte that the Kirk regrets their departure and is working to find replacements for vacant minister posts, with an upward recruitment tend of 14 new ministers this year alone.
The debate over the ordination of same-sex clergy was highlighted by the media in 2009 when openly gay Rev Scott Rennie was appointed to Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen in 2009.
Ten ministers have now left the Kirk joining the Free Church of Scotland.
Speaking with KaleidoScot, openly gay Church of Scotland minister Scott Rennie said: “Its a source of great sadness that anyone in ministry ever leaves the Kirk, whatever the reason.
“However, there are a number of people who will have been encouraged to train for ministry in a broad and more inclusive church. At the end of the day the Church of Scotland has always been that broad and national church – a church for all the people of Scotland.”