C of S minister quits Kirk to form new church
An Inverness minister is to leave the Church of Scotland earlier than originally planned and hopes to set up a new church in the city linked to a separate presbyterian denomination.
Following the Church of Scotland's failure to adhere to Biblical standards on sexuality at the Kirk's General Assembly last May, Rev. Peter Humphris has brought forward his retirement from the pastoral ministry at Kinmylies Church Inverness and now plans to establish a new congregation in a city-centre location.
Rev. Peter Humphris
In his letter to Inverness Church of Scotland Presbytery last Tuesday, Peter effectively resigned from the Kirk into which he was ordained as a minister thirty-six years ago in Nairn Old Church. Since then he served in Dundee for a period of twenty-four years before returning to the Highlands in 2001.
The Christian preacher and a fellow minister Rev. Dr. James Torrens are now pioneering a new Highland International Church in Inverness with the first service scheduled for Palm Sunday in a local hotel.
Rev. Dr. James Torrens and family
James served at Kinmylies Church during a summer placement in 2002 and at a later date took up his first charge in St. Rollox (Glasgow). He resigned that charge at the end of last year for the same reasons as his friend Peter.
Initially he will be leading the work of establishing the new congregation on a part-time basis, but will serve in a full-time capacity in due course along with fellow elders once these have been identified.
He hopes to move as a family with his wife Jane and their son and daughter to the Highland capital at the end of the current school year.
Any move to establish a new congregation is always an encouraging sign of 'life' and opens up fresh opportunities for the spread of the Gospel message. Speaking of the development Dr. Torrens states the new church in Inverness "will seek, with God’s help, to be an outward looking, disciple-making, kingdom-growing fellowship in this rapidly growing city."
A changed Church
In his address to the Presbytery ealier this week, Rev. Humphris affirmed his theological position regarding the uniqueness of Christ and the final authority of the Bible as being 'unchanged' since becoming a Christian forty-five years ago. Yet concerning the Church of Scotland, he continued:
"My conviction is that the denomination of which I have been a member for forty years, has moved (and is continuing to move) away from the standards and convictions it held when I first joined. Because of this, and with deep sadness, tonight’s Presbytery meeting will be my last, as I find myself no longer able to retain my membership of the Church of Scotland as a denomination.
The new 'church plant' in the city is to be linked with the International Presbyterian Church which has English- and Korean-speaking churches in England; and also one congregation in Romania. Additionally, the denomination – with American and Swiss roots – has church planters working in France, Italy, Belgium and Azerbaijan, with a view to establishing congregations in these countries.
It is highly probable that the new congregation will comprise some of those church members who have already left the Church of Scotland since last year's Assembly.
If as this current develoment suggests, new and vibrant fellowships develop outside of the Church of Scotland it will come as a welcome 'reverse' regarding the tragic deterioration in biblical standards within Scotland's national church.
Elsewhere a 'new work' in Aberdeen has now been established with a Trinity Church congregation formed by the minister and many of the elders and congregation who once comprised the 'granite' city's High Hilton Church of Scotland
The first service of the Highland International Church in Inverness is scheduled as follows:
The Castle Room Suite, Palace Hotel, Inverness
Palm Sunday 1 April 2012
11.00am to 12.30pm
1. Click here for a summary report of the position within the Church of Scotland following the General Assembly in May 2011.
2. Since the 2011 General Assembly a growing number of clergy and congregations have been leaving the Church of Scotland, including ministers in Skye, Lochalsh, Tain and Aberdeen. Others in Aberdeen and Glasgow are actively planning to leave. (See side column for links.)
3. Normally when a Church of Scotland minister retires he 'stays on the books' and becomes part of whichever Presbytery he moves to in retirement. However in quitting the Church of Scotland, Rev. Humphris will now be free to develop the new congregation within the boundaries of an existing Church of Scotland parish. (Every location in Scotland is part of one parish kirk or another.)
4. Rev. Humphris can be seen in the following video welcoming Christians from across the Highlands on the occasion of a visit by former HTC lecturer Rev. Dr. Noel Due in 2010. (Click on 'arrow' to play.)
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