THE Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland,

Scotland's most prominent churchman, yesterday denied that his comments

on the symbolism of the virgin birth were splitting the Church.

The Rt Rev. Dr James Weatherhead may now face a vote of censure at the

Kirk's Assembly.

His declaration at a sermon in Edinburgh on Sunday, rallying to the

public defence of the Bishop of Durham, Dr David Jenkins, that the

virgin birth need not necessarily be viewed as a literal truth, has been

sharply criticised by a group of more than 100 Church of Scotland


In a letter to The Herald, they stated that the virgin birth was

historical fact and an ''integral'' part of faith. They also accused Dr

Weatherhead of using the media ''to voice his personal scepticism rather

than to promote the Church's unity and faith''.

The full list of the letter's signatories is as follows:

Graham Leitch (Edinburgh Barclay); David J. B. Anderson (Edinburgh

Gorgie); Graham R. Houston (Chaplain to Heriot-Watt University); Shirley

A. Fraser (St George's Tillydrone, Aberdeen); Neil R. Combe (Hawick,

Teviot with Roberton); I. Hamilton (Newmilns Loudon); G. M. Philip


Henderson Memorial, Glasgow); J. H. Wallace (Peebles St Andrews

Leckie); H. W. Hardie (Blackridge with St Andrews, Harthill); M. Thomson

(Kirkgowan with Wigtown); D. L. Court (Balshagray Victoria Park,

Glasgow); J. F. Todd (Lochcraig, Dunfermline); R. Jones (Rosskeen); J.

Notman (Douglas & Angus); D. D. Melville (Dunnet with Olrig, Caithness);

J. E. Lyall (Crimond with St Fergus); A. I. Macdonald (Inverness East);

A. Malcolm (Inverness West); N. J. Dougall (St

David's Broomhouse, Edinburgh); J. Rushton (Kildonan & Loth,

Helmsdale); I. MacDonald (Barvas, Isle of Lewis); R. Whyte

(Rothiemurchus and Aviemore); D. Thomson (Aberdeen Nigg); D. Hammond

(Saline and Blairingone); A. T. B. McGowan (Trinity Possil & Henry

Drummond); L. Kinsey (St Columba's, Aberdeen); D. B. C. Inglis (St

Andrew's Church, Turriff); I. Mackenzie (Canonbie with Langholm, Ewes

and Westerkirk); H. Watt (Lochwood Parish, Glasgow); H. Hudson

(Bridgeton, St Francis-in-the-East, Glasgow); A. Webster (Dunnichen,

Letham, and Kirkden, Angus); J. Fraser (Retired); G. Kennedy (New

Cumnock); G. M. Thain (Polmont Old); J. Philip (Holyrood Abbey,

Edinburgh); R. S. Hill (Crieff); D. Sutherland (Glasgow Hutchesontown);

A. J. R. McCulloch (Kilmuir and Stenscholl, Isle of Skye); J. A.

McDonald (Cumbernauld Condorrat); D. Cranston (St Columba, Kilmacolm);

A. Duncan (Garelochhead); W. H. Thomson (Liberton Northfield,

Edinburgh); A. Livesley (Kiltearn, Evanton); J. A. Maclean (Inverness);

D. A. Ford (Airdrie: New Monklands and Greengairs); J. C. Sharp (East

Kilbride South); S. Raby (Wishaw: Craigneuk and Belhaven); W. J.

Macdonald (Gairloch & Dundonnell); B. Johnstone (Mallaig, St Columba's &

Knoydart); R. Brough (Whitburn, Brucefield); I. Coltart (Chalmers,

Wishaw); P. H. Jones (Retired); M. R. Philip (Bendochy with Blairgowrie

St Mary's South); N. Urquhart (Fullarton, Irvine); G. W. Davies (St

Ninians, Bellfield, Kilmarnock); N. Cruickshank (Overton Church, West

Kilbride); H. Morrison (Lochalsh); D. J. Randall (Macduff); D. Scott

(Invergordon); W. Still (Gilcomston South, Aberdeen); J. H. Robertson

(Thornliebank, Glasgow); S. Smith (Assistant, Temple Anniesland); K.

Buwert (Kinlochleven & Nether Loch); W. Craig (Cambusbarron, The Bruce

Memorial); D. M. White (St Columba's, Kirkintilloch); G. Dickson (New

Luce with Old Luce); I. C. MacKenzie (Gairbraid, Glasgow); K. Donald

(Stockethill, Aberdeen); W. M. Alexander (Berriedale & Dunbeath with

Latheron, Caithness); F. B. Beull (Urquhart & Glenmoriston); A. R.

Aitken (Newhaven, Edinburgh); J. T. Mann (Kenmore & Lawers with

Fortingall & Glenlyon); A. Macgregor (Kirkconnel); I. McQuarrie

(Colinton Mains); M. Goss (Dundee Mains); G. R. Palmer (Ruchazie,

Glasgow); L. Steele (Old Parish & St Paul's, Galashiels); M. J. Lind

(Duirinish); R. C. Nelson (Inverness, Dalneigh and Bona); G. G. Cringles

(Dunblane, St Blane's); K. Macleod (Lochs-in-Bernera, Lewis); F.

Drummond (St Andrews & St Stephens, Perth); J. F. Ferguson (Perth

Kinnoull); V. Laidlaw (St Catherine's Argyll, Edinburgh); W. M. Gilmour

(Lecropt Kirk); P. C. Rae (Beath, Cowdenbeath North); P. Mair (Lochbroom

& Ullapool); F. A. Robertson (New Restalrig, Edinburgh); J. Spencer

(Gorgie, Edinburgh); M. Duff (Fergushill with Kilwinning Erskine); S.

Reid (Dunfermline North); A. J. R. Fowler (Paisley: St Columba, Foxbar);

I. Wiseman (Cockenzie and Port Seton, Chalmers Memorial); H. Mealyea

(Bargeddie); J. W. Bird (Bathgate High); D. K. Speed (Aberfoyle with

Port of Menteith); B. A. White (Kirkcaldy Templehall); P. Humphris

(Fintry, Dundee); W. C. Bruce (Motherwell: Dalziel); A. Mitchell

(Dunfermline St Leonard's); G. Foster (Dundee: The Steeple); N. Barge

(Torrance, Glasgow); A. L. Walker (Retired); G. L. Duffin (Newmains,

Coltness); M. A. W. Allen (Chryston Church, Glasgow); K. E. Offor

(Portpatrick with Stranraer St Ninian's); G. Cranston (Rutherglen

Wardlawhill); J. S. Dewar (Reay, Caithness); H. A. G. Tait (Crieff South

and Monzievaird).