THE Church of Scotland has come under renewed criticism after law officers served legal papers on a minister at his family home.

Rev Dr William Philip and five other senior members of the St George's Tron congregation in Glasgow were served with near identical documents to those already served to the minister at a prayer meeting earlier this week, following a blunder.

The worshippers and ministers have been threatened with eviction from church premises and the manse after St George's Tron became the first full congregation to split from the Kirk in opposition to the ordination of gay ministers.

Loading article content

Yesterday, law officers handed papers to the minister's wife as the Kirk seeks possession of a number of items, including bibles, hymn books and a church organ.

Mr Philip said: "Choosing to serve the same interdict twice and harass not just our church leaders but their families in their own homes is quite unnecessary. They seem to have no idea how intimidating this has been.

"I was shaking for at least an hour this morning. It is just horrible."

The papers did not relate to the manse, but to the church items which the congregation believes it has a right to keep.

The congregation raised more than £2 million for a refurbishment of the church and insists it owns the assets.

St George's Tron is due to hold its last service at the church on Sunday and will move to prayer halls in the city's Bath Street that evening.

Mr Philip said the writ related to assets the congregation believes it owns.

The Kirk served two interim interdicts on Wednesday, granted by the Court of Session, to prevent the removal of heritable fixtures and fittings and moveable items from the St George's Tron building and to prevent those already removed from being disposed.

Mr Philip said: "We are being asked for assets we have paid for. We have paid all that was due and have enriched the building.

"The court citation demands various items like the organ, and other church equipment be handed over.

"These gifts were donated by individual members for their own congregational life and had already been moved as part of the preparations for church life after moving out of Buchanan Street."

The Herald understands an earlier offer to lease the manse was rejected by the minister.

A spokesman for the Kirk said: "The Presbytery of Glasgow will now be seeing how it can bring forward its plans for starting to rebuild the Church of Scotland congregation based round the Tron building and providing conservative evangelical preaching and compassionate service to that part of the city centre.

"We are in the process of appointing a transitional minister."