Church of Scotland minister resigns

Rev Dr. George Whyte said he was 'deeply saddened' at Rev Philip Hair's resignation. Picture: Neil Hanna

Rev Dr. George Whyte said he was 'deeply saddened' at Rev Philip Hair's resignation. Picture: Neil Hanna

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A CHURCH of Scotland minister has resigned his position with the Kirk to join former members of his congregation who left in protest at the ordination of openly gay clergy.

The Rev Philip Hair, minister of Holyrood Abbey Church, said that he would be leaving having been called by Holyrood Evangelical Church to become their first minister.

The church’s kirk session agreed unanimously in June 2013 to start the process of leaving the Church of Scotland, though it was down to individual members of Holyrood Abbey to decide whether they wished to remain within the Kirk.

The Church of Scotland’s General Assembly voted in May to allow congregations to appoint an openly gay minister who was in a civil partnership, while affirming its traditional stance on sexuality.

Confirming that he was leaving, Mr Hair said: “It has been a honour and pleasure to serve the parish of Holyrood Abbey for the past 16

years and it is with great sadness that I and so many others are leaving the Church of Scotland.

“I nevertheless look forward to this new ministry where we will continue to be committed to sharing the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ in Edinburgh.”

He added that the church building would be remain in the Kirk’s ownership.

Rev Dr George Whyte, Acting Principal Clerk for the Kirk, said: “I am saddened by the departure of Rev Philip Hair from Holyrood Abbey at

the end of this month. He will be missed and I wish him well for the future. I will be working to ensure parish life continues in Abbeyhill and the surrounding area. An Interim Moderator has already been appointed who will take the service from the start of October and consult with the congregation on their future arrangements.”

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