Crisis? What crisis? says Moderator

BY LISA FALCONER lisa.falconer@whfp.co.uk

The Church of Scotland Moderator for Lochcarron and Skye has said there is no “crisis in the Kirk” following the resignation of two local ministers.

As reported in the Free Press last week, Rev David Macleod of the Lochcarron parish and Rev Roddy MacRae from Glenelg and Kintail have left the Church of Scotland, stating concerns with the Kirk which can be traced to the row over gay ministers. Both men have now applied to join the Free Church of Scotland.

The Rev David Kellas, Moderator of the Church of Scotland Presbytery of Lochcarron and Skye, said: “Kirk in crisis? — that’s where our enemies would like to think we are. No, we’re not. We are a little out of breath because so many things have happened all at once, but not in crisis.

“Crisis means judgement and we’ll all come to that in the end when, the Bible assures us, it will not be at all what some people expect!”

Glenelg-based Rev Kellas continued: “I for one am proud to be a Minister of a Church which is prepared to sit down and debate the issues of our time and face new facts and where necessary make changes in how we think about things without for one tiny second losing our grip on the message of the Bible.

“I am proud to be in a Church wherein all parties have moved away from fear and hostility in relation to the different sexualities which God has given folk, though we are not at all in agreement about the practical consequences of that. I am thrilled to be in a Church where for fifty years the spiritual gifts of women and men have been recognised as equal, to the enormous enrichment of our congregations and the Courts of the Church: and in which now, as a matter of faith as well as law, no election of Elders or Ministers can properly take place where anyone is excluded solely on the grounds of sex. And it’s good to be in a Church which will dare to pursue new ideas and sometimes gets things wrong — how sad it must be to be always right!”

The departure of Revs MacLeod and MacRae leaves just one full-time parish minister — Portree’s Rev Sandor Fazakas — in Wester Ross, Skye, North Uist, Benbecula, South Uist and Harris and Assynt.

Rev Kellas added: “David and Roddy have left us for a church which everyone could see is their natural home. They depart at a time when our Presbytery already has a number of vacancies: three of these came about through resignations, two through retiral and one through the translation of the minister to a charge in Moray.

“Of the six, three are in the care of ordained ministers and three Elders trained in this task: and in every parish there are Elders and others who share in the care for the people, and that means for us the whole people, not just our Church members. Sandor is Minister at Portree and Interim Moderator of Kilmuir and Stenscholl in Skye. He may be the only full-time Minister in our Presbytery, but he is not alone. Harris, Uist, Benbecula and Assynt are in the care of other Presbyteries but those who know of his 20 years of heroic ministry in Romania in the days of the Communist tyranny would happily give him a parish only slightly smaller than Wales and be sure it would not be neglected.”

See also: Kirk in crises as ministers quit