Highlands minister is first to quit the Kirk over gay row
A CHURCH of Scotland minister in the Highlands has become the first to quit the Kirk in response to the induction of a gay minister.
The Rev Thomas Mackinnon, of Kilmuir and Logie Easter Church, Delny, by Invergordon, told his congregation from the pulpit he would be leaving because of his strength of feeling over the issue.
The Kirk's General Assembly decided in May to allow Scott Rennie, who is openly gay, to be appointed to a ministry in Aberdeen.
Rev Mackinnon, 56, said yesterday that his decision was "because of what was going on at the general assembly and the appointment (of Mr Rennie]".
The minister, who was ordained in 1996, currently lives in the manse with his wife Julia, but will leave at the end of this month. He said he had no plans for the future.
He said it had been a very hard decision to make and followed discussions with his elders and family.
On the issue of gay ministers, he said: "It's a step away from the authority of the Bible. If the Bible does not have authority, we do not really have the authority to preach. I should imagine many people will be examining their position in the church at this time.
"Part of the reason I demitted was to avoid the obvious arguments and recrimination that will go on. I do not really want to comment further."
Asked if other members of his church shared his views, he said: "Each individual has their own conscience to follow."
The Rev Tom McWilliam, clerk to Ross Presbytery, said: "(Mr Mackinnon] sent a letter demitting his charge and we will deal with it in due course.
"He has decided for his own reasons to demit his charge and we are simply going to release him. I don't know of anyone else planning to do what Tommy has done."
He said Mr Mackinnon's resignation was unexpected and "rather precipitous".
"I want to wait until I hear what the Church has to say on the matter (of gay ministers]. Tommy seems to think that is not what he ought to do, that's a personal decision."
A Church of Scotland spokesman said ministers demit their charges for a variety of reasons.
He added: "We are not aware that any presbytery has minuted any career change for a minister as a result of the general assembly's decision."
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