A GROUP of church dissenters has launched legal action against the decision to close places of worship during the Covid lockdown. 

Nearly 30 leaders from Glasgow, Edinburgh, and further afield have hit out at Scottish Government officials for ordering churches to shut in a bid to halt the spread of the bug. 

Reverend William Philip, minister of Tron church on Bath Street, is leading the move along with representatives from the Church of Scotland (CofS), Free Church of Scotland, Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) and independent denominations. 

READ MORE: Glasgow's places of worship adapt for life with Covid-19

However, senior figures in the country's largest Presbyterian sect have already condemned the legal bid, saying it is "not the right course of action".

Rev. Philip said: “We are able to do some things remotely via broadcasting, but many - especially the poorest, the oldest, and those most vulnerable - have no access to this.

"They are excluded completely from the possibility of Christian worship, and the comfort and encouragement in life and death only this can give.

Glasgow Times: Tron Church on Bath Street Tron Church on Bath Street

“Due to the severe restrictions upon gatherings and significant distress this has caused, we have faced no alternative but to pursue legal action.”

As part of the latest lockdown rules, places of worship are only permitted to conduct weddings or funerals - with the number of attendees strictly limited - and to broadcast services online.

Communal worship can continue south of the border subject to restrictions on attendance.

A pre-action letter was sent threatening legal action on January 15, giving ministers until 5pm on January 21 to respond.

Lawyers for the faith representatives will now argue the regulations are in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights and the Scottish Constitution.

They say that Scottish churches should be free from state intervention as per historic legal framework. 

However, Church of Scotland bosses have been among those tonight to refute the move. 

A statement from the kirk read: "We do not think this is the right course to take when the country is under threat from Covid-19.

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“We fully accept that the latest pandemic restrictions mean that we have to close churches again for the time being.  

“The vast majority of our members understand and support these temporary restrictions.

"We will continue to work with the Scottish Government to ensure that reopening churches will happen as soon as it can be done safely." 

Kelvin Holdsworth, provost of St Mary's Episcopal Cathedral on Great Western Road, added: "Not in my name. I want to worship with others more that almost anything.

"But I want to keep the congregation and community safe. Difficult though it is, I support the government's lockdown restrictions."