The Fellowship of Confessing Churches said there has been a flood of requests for its application packs as around 50 churches already affiliated have placed covenants in their buildings against same sex relationships.

The fellowship will not accept gay ordination under any circumstances and is on collision course with supporters of Reverend Scott Rennie, the openly gay minister whose appointment prompted a special commission to be set up by the Church of Scotland at its General Assembly to examine the issue.

Mr Rennie’s position at Aberdeen’s Queen’s Cross church was approved but the General Assembly agreed not to appoint any more gay ministers until after the special commission reports to back to the Kirk in 2011.

Congregations unhappy with the Church’s position will move to join the fellowship, which would have more than 150 members if the applications are processed.

Their stance threatens the greatest schism within the Kirk since the Disruption of 1843 when around a third of ministers broke away to form the Free Church of Scotland.

The Rev William Philip, of St George’s-Tron, Glasgow, said: “There are now 45 churches fully joined up to the fellowship. Many more are discussing membership – we have had more than 100 applications packs requested.”

It is also believed that an openly gay former lawyer who was nominated as a trainee minister and who then withdrew from the process is reconsidering the move.

It is understood Dmitri Ross, 42, approved to train with Hamilton Presbytery, may resume the process. If ordained, Mr Ross would be the first Kirk minister in a civil partnership and the first openly gay minister to be approved since the moratorium on gay appointments was agreed.

The submission of a “dissent and complaint” from within Hamilton Presbytery over its decision to support the training of Mr Ross also means the issue could now be scrutinised by the highest Kirk court, the General Assembly.

The detail of the complaint will first be heard in November by a commission of assembly made up of senior Kirk figures.

When he withdrew from full time training Mr Ross said: “I do not wish, and have never sought, to be a cause of division within the Church I love so dearly.”

Last week a posting by Mr Ross on a controversial website by Aberdeen minister the Rev Louis Kinsey asked correspondents “not to denigrate” him.

It read: “Please show me a little consideration. I only ever wanted to serve Christ. I have done what I believe is in the best interests of the Church of Scotland at this time, although this leaves me heartbroken and distraught. I would ask that you try to ensure that I am not denigrated on this site or elsewhere. I do not feel I deserve this.”