TWO Edinburgh churches are quitting the Kirk just weeks before the General Assembly over the issue of gay ordination.
The departure of St Catherine’s Argyle, in the Grange, and New Restalrig in Willowbrae, comes on the eve of the annual meeting of the Church in the city next month.
Their departure will be a major blow to the Church’s finances with the two congregations contributing £315,000 between them to the coffers.
The two confirmed breakaway congregations are in the “higher givings bracket” and so among the wealthiest in terms of donations.
Reverend Robin Sydserff, minister at St Catherine’s Argyle, is understood to have strong support in his congregation – which generated income of £200,000 a year – in objecting to the direction of the debate over the issue sparked by the appointment of openly gay Reverend Scott Rennie to an Aberdeen church in 2009.
Reverend David Court, formerly of New Restalrig, whose congregation donated £115,000 a year, has also now officially signed off, or demitted, from the Kirk and has become a member of the Free Church of Scotland.