A Church of Scotland congregation in the Bahamas has quit the church in protest over the ordination of gay ministers.
The 200-year-old parish of St Andrew’s in Nassau, the capital of the islands, decided to follow Reverend John MacLeod when he announced he would resign.
Instead, the congregation has applied to join the fundamentalist Evangelical Presbyterian Church of America, which is against homosexuality and the ordination of women.
Under the evangelical church, the congregation will form a new Presbyterian Church of the Bahamas.
Another church in the Bahamas, Lucaya Kirk at Freeport, is expected to take the same action.
The Kirk said the move had been in planning but a source told the Herald it was triggered by Rev McLeod’s departure.
Rev MacLeod told the newspaper he chose to leave over gay ministers but also over how the church dealt with the issue.
He said: “It wasn’t just the Scott Rennie thing, it was the general tenor of the General Assembly that I don’t think is the way a church should do business. I think it is a shame that the Church of Scotland has tried to stifle the debate.
“I have had misgivings over the Church of Scotland for a number of years. I believe there is a general drift away from Biblical orthodoxy.”
He is leaving to join an evangelical church.
Last year, Reverend Scott Rennie was approved as the minister for Queen’s Cross Church in Aberdeen, despite being an out gay man and living with his partner.
His appointment almost split the church, which imposed a two-year moratorium on new gay ministers.
The Kirk also banned any public discussion of the issue of gay ordinations.