Here I discussed a frosty relationship developing in the Church of Scotland between traditionalists and those supportive of the appointment of the openly-gay Reverend Scott Rennie to the Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeenshire. In response, a minister in the Free Church of Scotland suggested that disgruntled congregations could consider defecting to his Church.
The Herald reports on 35 CoS parishes which have declared their defiance to Rennie’s appointment. They are:
St George’s Tron, St Rollox, St Margaret’s Tollcross, Partick Trinity, Carmyle Church (all Glasgow); Kirk o’ Shotts, Lanarkshire; St John’s Town of Dalry Parish Church, Castle Douglas, Dumfriesshire; Old Luce, New Luce (Newton Stewart); Troqueer Parish Church, Dumfries; Loudoun Church, Newmilns; St Andrew’s Church, Harthill; New Restalrig Church, Holyrood Abbey Church, Davidson’s Mains Church, St Catherine’s Argyle (Edinburgh); Gilcomston South, High Church Hilton (Aberdeen); Macduff Parish Church, Gardenstown; St Kane’s, New Deer; Kinmylies Church, East Church (Inverness); Alness; Durness & Kinlochbervie; Lochalsh Parish, Glenelg & Kintail (Kyle of Lochalsh); Kilmuir & Stenscholl, Strath & Sleat Parish (Skye) High Church Stornoway, Lochs Crossbost, Barvas Parish (Lewis) Tarbert, Manish-Scarista (Harris) Benbecula Church.
One point to consider, I believe, would be a recent ruling from the Court of Session in Edinburgh regarding ownership of the manse of the Sleat and Strath Free Church, located at Broadford, Isle of Skye (which appears to be the same location, but not the building occupied by comedian David Mitchell’s great-great-grandfather, Alexander Forbes). In 2000, for reasons I cannot really fathom, a clutch of congregations in the FCoS diverged to form the Free Church Continuing.
One dissenting minister was Allan Maciver of Sleat and Strath who, despite being suspended from the ministry by the FCoS, was permitted to remain at the manse until his retirement. At this point, the FCoS attempted to regain the property, but discovering the FCoSC renovating it for their own uses.
Civil action ensued, and in July 2009 the Lord Uist ruled that ownership of the manse remained with the FCoS. So, message to any parish in the CoS considering defection: the CoS may well keep properties.