The minister of a church in Aberdeen and its members have quit the Church of Scotland over the issue of gay clergy and have decided to set up worship in a hotel instead.

Gilcomston South’s minister Reverend Dominic Smart and its membership of more than 300 have been discussing the issue for some time.

The Church of Scotland said it was sorry and saddened by the decision.

The congregation took issue with the General Assembly approving the appointment of the openly gay minister Scott Rennie to Queen’s Cross church in Aberdeen in 2009.

Reverend Smart said: “Our decision to leave was the culmination of careful study, sincere discussion and prayer over the past four years.

“We have weighed up many different options and believe the decision we have reached has the most integrity.

“We are looking forward to the first chapter in the life of our new generation.”

He added: “It’s quite simple – the bible is very clear that same-sex ordination in the ministry is something that God would not be happy with and so that’s what we also believe.

“The decision by the Church of Scotland represented a clear and deliberate move away from the authority of scripture as the word of God and our supreme rule of faith and life.”