A Church of Scotland congregation in the heart of Glasgow is splitting from the Kirk over the issue of gay clergy.
Five hundred worshipers from St George’s Tron Church on Buchanan Street made the move after the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland “failed to reverse” a previous decision to allow the appointment of ministers in same-sex relationships.
In a statement on the Tron’s website, Rev Dr William Philip said that the Kirk had “marginalised the Bible, the written Word of God.”
This is the first known instance of an entire congregation leaving the Church of Scotland over the issue, although individuals have done so in the past as well as clergy including eight ministers last year.
The Tron plans to associate itself with another Christian denomination which is compatible with the congregation's beliefs.
Mr Philip added: “We believe the Church of Scotland is choosing to walk away from the biblical gospel and to walk apart from the faith of the worldwide Christian Church.”
He added: “We cannot depart from the historic foundations of our Church, and will not separate from communion with orthodox Christian believers globally.
"Consequently, we intend to realign with a church grouping which remains clearly and publicly committed to orthodox Christianity.”
While the church is in search of a new denomination The Tron will continue to serve the Glasgow community seven days a week and it is understood that the congregation will support Rev Philip financially.
A Church of Scotland spokesman said: “The Presbytery of Glasgow and the Church of Scotland General Trustees are saddened at the decision of the Minister and members of Glasgow St George’s Tron to leave the Church of Scotland.
“Discussions will take place with representatives of the Tron over the coming weeks to clarify the situation and determine the best way of preserving a Church of Scotland ministry presence in Glasgow city centre.”
Following the decision of The Tron it has come to light that the congregation has fallen behind with its contributions to the ministries and mission of the Church of Scotland. There is also an outstanding loan for building work on the church to the Church of Scotland General Trustees, who own the Buchanan Street property.
The Kirk spokesman added: “No decisions have been taken about the on-going use of the building, or the outstanding financial obligations to the Church of Scotland and the General Trustees.”
While the Tron has announced its intention to leave the Church of Scotland there are a lot of technicalities to overcome which includes resigning their charitable status which is associated to the Church of Scotland.
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