A substantial number of members could leave the Church of Scotland if gay clergy are permitted, a report says.

The church was threated by a schism two years ago when an openly gay man in a relationship was ordained.

Following this, the church placed a moratorium on gay clergy to last until this year.

A Kirk report on the issue is to be published later today and presented to the church’s general assembly next month.

According to BBC News, it says that “substantial” numbers of members have indicated they will leave the church if it sanctions out gay ministers.

The document reportedly says that there are two options: to begin training and ordaining out gay clergy or to enact an indefinite ban. However, a ban could leave a “festering wound”, the report says.

The report says there is no clear mandate for immediate change and calls for further reports on the issue.

The controversy began when Reverend Scott Rennie was appointed as minister of Queen’s Cross Church, Aberdeen. His ordination was opposed by many in the church because he is openly gay and lives with his partner.

However, his congregration voted overwhelmingly for him to become their minister.

The ban on gay clergy has been described as the biggest issue to face the church in 160 years.