Scottish church may break away over gay ministers

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A church in Aberdeen is expected to break away from the Church of Scotland over the issue of gay ministers.

Gilcomston South Church, which has a congregation of around 400, will formally vote on the issue at a later date.

Kirk’s general assembly voted last month to accept gay and lesbian ministers in future.

A special church panel is to look at the issue of gay and lesbian clergy and will report back in 2013.

Gilcomston South’s minister Reverend Dominic Smart told BBC Scotland: “The thing we disagree with is the way in which the Bible seems to have been marginalised.

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

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

“Our decision comes from a view shared by most Christians.”

The church has not yet made a decision on whether celibate gay clergy or those in relationships could be ordained.

Research has found that one in five church members have said they will leave if out gay ministers are permitted.

However, one in ten said they will leave if the ban continues.

Divisions in the church began in 2009, when the Rev Scott Rennie’s appointment caused deep tensions between traditionalists and liberals.