Highlands & Islands

No split after High Church vote on gay ministers

A Western Isles congregation's plans to split from the Church of Scotland over the appointment of gay ministers have been put on hold.

The kirk session of the High Church in Stornoway, on Lewis, had recommended breaking away from the Kirk.

In a vote on Tuesday night, 74% of the congregation backed the move.

However, the figure fell just short of the 80% threshold that the kirk session had agreed was necessary before a split could take place.

The congregation, which has about 400 members, voted in a secret ballot.

The Kirk's General Assembly last month voted to allow the induction of some gay ministers.

'Insufficient mandate'

After the votes were counted, the Reverend Andrew Coghill, the High Church's interim moderator, read a statement on behalf of the kirk session.

He said: "The kirk session views this result as an insufficient mandate on which to proceed further down the road of separation as a whole congregation.

"Consequently they will not as a session be pursing the question further for the time being."

Wednesday evening's ballot followed a question and discussion session.

In a secret ballot, 53 votes were cast in favour of remaining within the Church of Scotland denomination and 162 backed separation in principle.

There were three spoiled ballot papers.

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