Two Church of Scotland ministers have decided to leave the Church over its decision to allow gay ministers to be ordained.

Rev David Court, 51, and Rev David Randall, 42, have defected to the Free Church of Scotland.

The pair are understood to be unhappy with the Church of Scotland’s decision in May to allow the ordination of gay ministers, a decision which has proved controversial among congregations and ministers themselves.

Rev Randall, who had pastored the Loudoun Newmilns congregation in Ayrshire as well as Bo’ness Old Kirk, and Rev Court, who had also been convener of CrossReach – the Church of Scotland’s social care arm – for four years, were admitted into the Free Church denomination last night, The Scotsman reports.

Rev Randall said: “I’m excited to be coming into a denomination that takes the Bible seriously and seeks to engage that biblical message with 21st Century Scotland.

“What Scotland needs most today is the real Gospel of Jesus Christ, presented faithfully in engaging ways, and it seems to me that the Free Church is well placed to do exactly that.”

Rev Court added: “I am excited to be joining the Free Church of Scotland, a denomination that is known to honour the Scriptures; to love the Lord Jesus Christ and to have a passion for the work of the gospel here in Scotland.”

The resignations follow the decision of several congregations to quit the Church of Scotland over the issue of gay ministers.

A Free Church spokesman said: “It is clear from last week’s census figures that many people go about their everyday lives without any thought of God or spiritual things.”

“The need for preaching and sharing the Gospel is so great in Scotland today, and we believe Rev David Court and Rev David Randall will be important assets in communicating God’s word in a changing environment over the years to come.”

A Church of Scotland spokesman commented on the departure of Rev Court, saying: “We are saddened by the departure of the former Minister and a number of members and wish them well in their new place of worship.”

In June, it was revealed that the Church’s first openly gay minister, Rev Scott Rennie, had entered a civil partnership.