Kate Forbes: What is the Free Church of Scotland and what are its beliefs?

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SNP MSP Kate Forbes has been engulfed by controversy after saying she would have voted against gay marriage.

The Scottish finance secretary was among the favourites to replace Nicola Sturgeon as party leader after she announced she would be stepping down last week.

But Ms Forbes has faced backlash for some of her views, having said she would have opposed gay marriage as “a matter of conscience” if she had been an MSP when it became law in Scotland in 2014.

Scottish National Party leadership candidate Kate Forbes has


She later told Sky News she believes having children outside of marriage is “wrong”, saying it was something she would personally “seek to avoid”.

The MSP is a devout Christian and a member of the Free Church of Scotland. Here, we explain what the church is and what its beliefs are.

What is the Free Church of Scotland?

The church was formed in 1843 as a protest breakaway group from the mainstream Church of Scotland. It is an evangelical and Calvinist denomination.

It is the second largest denomination in Scotland after the Church of Scotland, and is sometimes known as The Wee Frees.

The church has around 100 congregations across Scotland and over 13,000 members.

A new congregation was opened in Montrose in November 2015, and in Dundee in September 2017.

The church states that its mission is “not to grow an organisation. Nor is it to become just another club or group within the community.

“We exist because of Jesus Christ. We want to fulfil his commission to us to ‘make disciples’,” a statement on the church’s website says.

“That means we share his message so that men, women, boys and girls who would know, love, follow, worship, confess and serve Jesus Christ as their Lord ...