THE Free Church has launched an investigation into claims a married minister, who is thought to have taken his life, had seven affairs.
The Reverend Dr Iain D Campbell, 53, died in hospital after reportedly being confronted by his wife Anne, 54, over the alleged illicit relationships.
It is also claimed that Mr Campbell, a father of three and Free Church of Scotland minister at the Point Free Church on the Isle of Lewis, fathered a child outwith his marriage.
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Mr Campbell was a leading figure within the Church and a former Moderator.
The minister in the tight-knit Western Isles community diedin January.
It is understood his wife challenged him over up to seven affairs and the issue has been raised with the Free Kirk.
The Free Church, known for its strict traditionalist stance, said it is investigating the claims.
It is also understood allegations could date as far back as the 1990s.
The Church source said: “When you are a man of the cloth your behaviour is meant to be above that.”
Mr Campbell was born and grew up in Stornoway, Isle of Lewis.
He was ordained as minister at Snizort Free Church, Skye in 1988 and spent seven years there before moving to Back Free Church in 1995.
A further transfer took him to Point Free Church in 2009.
He was Moderator of the Free Church General Assembly in 2012.
A spokesman for the Free Church of Scotland said: “We can confirm that the Free Church of Scotland is investigating allegations made in connection with the late Rev Dr Iain D Campbell.
“The Western Isles Presbytery is taking these allegations very seriously and is acting on them in accordance with the stated practice of the Free Church of Scotland.”
The Church said in a statement to its flock: “The Presbytery of the Western Isles wish to assure the Free Church and friends in the wider Christian community that meetings have been held to consider the recent death in tragic circumstances of Rev Dr Iain D Campbell.
“They wish to further give assurance that they are continuing to exercise pastoral oversight in all aspects of this tragic event in accordance with The Practice of the Free Church of Scotland.
“We ask for your prayers for the family, for our churches, and for the cause of Christ worldwide, as we seek to deal with this painful matter in a way that is biblically faithful and Christ-honouring.”
Reverend James Maciver, the minister of Stornoway Free Church, said in an obituary to Mr Campbell: “The news of Rev. Dr Iain D. Campbell’s sudden death numbed the Western Isles Free Presbytery, and the tremors from the shock extended through the Free Church and well beyond.
“We continue to pray for his family in their indescribable pain, as well as his congregation, friends and colleagues.
“At a time like this, there is only one source of strength and refuge, who we believe is ruling in unchangeable love over his people.”
He added: “Such was his fitness, vigour and drive that none could have expected his demise at 53 years of age.”
“Although gifted in so many fields Iain’s great love was preaching the gospel. It was a preaching of the highest calibre.”