One of the largest churches in Edinburgh has voted to split from the Scottish Episcopal Church amid tensions over its decision to become the first Anglican body in the UK to endorse gay marriage.
St Thomas’ is the latest evangelical parish to quit the official Anglican church in Scotland and back a rival splinter movement in reaction to the vote supporting gay marriage in June last year.
A number of other churches have either left or are considering leaving in the wake of the decision to change the Scottish Episcopal Church’s (SEC) definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman.
St Thomas’ is one of the largest Anglican churches in the capital and the move to split from the SEC will be seen as a major blow to Scottish bishops trying to hold together the deeply opposed factions over same-sex marriage.
The Rev David McCarthy, Rector at St Thomas’ told The Sunday Telegraph the decision had been a “very painful” one.
“We have not done it easily. We have had many tears and many sleepless nights. It is a tragic necessity,” he said.
“But it is the Episcopal Church who are leaving us. They are leaving orthodoxy.”
The church’s decision to permit gay marriage has put it at odds with the majority of Anglicans around the world. Last October sanctions were imposed on the SEC by leaders of the global Anglican Communion, restricting Scottish bishops from representing the group at interfaith meetings and from voting on decisions about policy or teaching.
• Full story at the Daily Telegraph.