Falkirk Kirks say no to gay clergy

Members of the Church of Scotland General Assembly debate the appointment of gay clergy
Members of the Church of Scotland General Assembly debate the appointment of gay clergy

Members of the Kirk in Falkirk have voted against the appointment of gay clergy in their churches.

However, across Scotland the majority of presbyteries backed the moved with 31 for and 14 against.

One minister and one elder from every congregation had the right to vote and Falkirk Presbytery members took part in the secret ballot following a lengthy debate on the subject at their October meeting.

Figures revealed by the Church of Scotland show that 36 were in favour of appointing ministers in active homosexual and lesbian relationships, while 52 were against.

Across every presbytery 1381 members voted in favour and 1163 against.

Along with Falkirk, Kirkcaldy, Inverness and Lewis voted against the move, while Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Stirling presbyteries backed the proposal.

There was a clear geographical split, with the traditionalist presbyteries in the north of the country among those opting against gay ordination.

The next decision will be taken in May at the church’s General Assembly in Edinburgh.

Rev. Robert Allan of Falkirk Trinity Church and clerk to the local presbytery, said: “The debate was very civilised I’m glad to say. It’s obviously a controversial subject and 
debated a lot over the years by the Church of Scotland.”

However, Mr Allan declined to comment on the outcome of the Falkirk Presbytery vote.

The proposal to appoint gay clergy has created a division in the Kirk and already 18 out of 795 ministers have left the Church of Scotland over the possibility of an eventual agreement to allow individual congregations to choose a gay minister.

One of those who quit over the issue is the Rev. Andrew Randall, who until the summer of 2013 was minister at Larbert Old Church. Along with 13 dissenting elders, he set up Grace Church which currently meets in Carrongrange School and is in the process of affiliating to the International Presbyterian Church.

After the voting figures were revealed, a Church of Scotland spokesman said: “Presbyteries have made their decision clear. That decision goes to the General Assembly for the final stage of approval.”