STORNOWAY’S oldest church kirk - St Columba’s (Old Parish) - has affirmed its loyalty to the Church of Scotland, declining to follow others in the Western Isles who are quitting over the gay clergy row.
Last month the congregations of the Tarbert Harris CoS and the High Church in Stornoway voted to take measures to leave the Church.
Two others on mainland Scotland had already voted to leave the denomination over the ordination of gay ministers.
The row is set to benefit the Free Church of Scotland which is in discussions with a number of those wishing to defect from the CoS – and has already recruited five ministers from the Kirk as a result.
A statement issued by the kirk session of St Columba’s (Old Parish) said: “The kirk session urges its people to remain with the congregation and to work and pray together within the Church of Scotland for the restoration and the reformation of the national church.”
While it said it still opposed ordination and induction of practicing homosexuals to the ministry, the session hoped of a change of heart before a final decision by the General Assembly in 2015.
The statement said: “Session recognises that delay of a final General Assembly decision in this matter to 2015 is a God-given opportunity for the people of God to re-commit themselves to the word of God and, to that end, the session will be taking measures to introduce a special time of prayer and devotion to this matter.
“Session is encouraged by the formation of the Church of Scotland Evangelical Network which seeks to restore and rebuild the Church from within and commends this network to the prayers of the congregation.”
The Church of Scotland has already declared it is “not in a crisis” over the issue, stating only around 10 out of 1400 congregations were considering their position.
Read more on the gay clergy row