The Church of Scotland has held a secret ballot of ministers and elders on whether it should allow gays and lesbians to be ordained.

The results of the vote will be revealed next year, along with the results of a ballot of church members across the country.

The church’s special commission is currently undertaking a review of the issue.

There is currently a moratorium until 2011 on the ordination of gay ministers after Rev Scott Rennie was appointed to Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen last year.

Rev Rennie’s selection provoked anger from some in the church because he is gay and lives with his partner.

A special meeting was held on Monday at the Presbytery of Greenock and Paisley to debate the ban

According to a document obtained by the Herald, there are deep divisions over the issue in the church.

The consultation document, written by the Kirk’s special commission, called for gay people in the church to speak out about their struggles to reconcile their sexuality and religion.

A spokesman for the presbytery told the newspaper: “Many consider that the Bible clearly condemns homosexuality and that it is therefore unacceptable for a minister to live in a same-sex relationship.

“Many others believe that what the Bible actually says is less clear and that the church has always been able to change its understanding of moral issues over time.”

Last month, Rev Rennie was given the ceremonial role of Burgess of Guild of the City of Aberdeen.

In November last year, he was voted gay charity Stonewall’s hero of the year.