It is "too early" to say what the impact of the Church of Scotland decision to consider the ordination of gay ministers will be, the new moderator said.
Following a lengthy debate on the subject at the institution's General Assembly, commissioners agreed to lift the ban on people in same-sex relationships becoming ministers.
The subject will be debated again in 2013 following the completion of a further report on theological issues surrounding the issue.
Commissioners voted 351 to 294 against the ban, which was brought in two years ago. At that time, traditionalist members attempted to block the appointment of gay minister the Rev Scott Rennie. At the time, the Assembly ultimately voted in support of the Aberdeen-based minister.
In light of this latest decision, the Rev David Arnott told journalists the Church will continue to provide guidance and spiritual leadership to the people of Scotland.
He said: "I am conscious that this has been a matter of contention for some time and many people on all sides hold their beliefs very firmly. It is, of course, too early to say what the impact of today's decision will be.
"The Church has agreed to embark on a path that will allow us in two years' time to consider lifting the moratorium on acceptance for training and ordination of people in a same-sex relationship.
"This direction is one that explores inclusion but the new theological commission will report in two years' time on that matter and no decisions have yet been made. We very much hope that people who disagree with what has been decided will nevertheless remain in the Church and work with us as we seek to find a way forward."
Following Mr Rennie's appointment in 2009, the Assembly called for a commission to study the issue and the debate in Edinburgh focused on its findings.
Addressing the Assembly, Lord Hodge, convener of the special commission, said: "The Church is very divided over the issue of the ordination as ministers of people who are in same-sex relationships. We are divided. Those divisions are not going to go away, whatever decision this General Assembly may reach."