Bishop of Down and Dromore to host pastor row meetings
A series of crisis meetings to discuss the future of a controversial Church of Ireland minister will be held tonight at a Co Armagh church.
St Matthias' Church in Knocknamuckley parish has been divided since parishioner concerns about its pastor, Rev Alan Kilpatrick, were raised in public recently.
At the centre of the unease are claims that Mr Kilpatrick's style of ministry is not what is expected in a Church of Ireland church and that he has links with an American revivalist church group, the Bethel school of Supernatural Ministries.
However, Mr Kilpatrick has stressed that his allegiance is to the Church of Ireland.
There has also been complaints against the minister claiming that he would not allow a Royal Black Preceptory service to be held in the church and had also not allowed a ladies' group to use church facilities for a meeting.
It's claimed that 70 people have left the country church since the Scots-born minister took up his position 18 months ago.
A group of 100 parishioners called on the church hierarchy last week to dissociate from any of its clerics who had links with Bethel Church. The call led to the Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Rt Rev Harold Miller, intervening by hosting three meetings of the ladies' committee, the select vestry and other congregation members from 7pm tonight.
The Diocesan group will also be meeting Mr Kilpatrick.