Second minister reveals he will quit Kirk over gay clergy controversy

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A SECOND Kirk minister has announced that he is to quit the Church of Scotland over its controversial decision to move towards permitting openly homosexual clergy.

The Rev Andrew Coghill, whose church is in the Outer Hebrides, was among traditionalists who spoke out during last week's General Assembly - the governing body of the Kirk -warning that ordaining gay ministers would destroy the church.

At present ministers in a same-sex relationship can freely preach in the national church, if they were ordained before 2009 - the year the row blew up when the Rev Scott Rennie was appointed to an Aberdeen congregation.

A two-year theological commission will examine if the Kirk should allow the ordination of openly gay ministers.

Mr Coghill informed his congregation on Sunday that "in the light of the General Assembly's decision it is with the utmost sorrow and heartfelt grief" he would demit his charge at Leurbost Church in Lochs, Lewis, where he has served for nearly 20 years.

He said he would quit at the end of August, explaining his conscience would not allow him to stay in the Church after it departed from biblical teachings.

Mr Coghill said: "The Cross is not simply to be preached, it is to be lived.

"I do not expect, encourage or require that any of you should follow me out of the Church of Scotland, for I have nowhere to lead you, and I do not know the direction of my own future.

"I know only that whilst many good, godly and devout Christian men and women will continue within the fold of the Church of Scotland, I personally cannot continue to serve a Church which as an institution, has chosen its own gods, and departed from the God of the Bible, whatever words may be used to contrary.

"I have taken you as far as the Lord has allowed me to do."

He said he had never desired to pastor elsewhere, but the Kirk's stance had forced his decision to leave.

Mr Coghill is the second minister to say he intended to leave over the decision.

Last week, the Rev Roddy MacRae announced that he was of a mind to leave. Mr MacRae, The minister of Glenelg and Kintail said the Kirk had "capitulated to society".

A Church of Scotland spokesman said: "It is disappointing that any minister would feel the need to leave the Church when no final decisions have been taken, and the Church has agreed to hold more dialogue on this issue."