Financial blow to Church of Scotland as more congregations quit over gay ministers

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Two Edinburgh churches are quitting the Church of Scotland over the issue of gay ordination.

St Catherine’s Argyle, in the Grange, and New Restalrig in Willowbrae, will leave ahead of next month’s annual General Assembly meeting.

The two congregations contribute £315,000 to the Church of Scotland’s coffers.

In May last year, the Church of Scotland voted in favour of proposals that would allow gay men and women to be ordained.

Legislation will be drafted this year.

It will then go to regional presbyteries and return for final approval in 2015.

Reverend Robin Sydserff, minister at St Catherine’s Argyle, is understood to have strong support in his congregation – which generated income of £200,000 a year.

They are objecting to the direction of the debate sparked by the appointment of openly gay Reverend Scott Rennie to Aberdeen’s Queen’s Cross Church in 2009.

Rev Rennie’s appointment led to a two-year moratorium on new openly gay ministers.