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Minister who soaked Belfast Telegraph man to leave troubled Armagh parish

By Christopher Woodhouse

Published 09/06/2015

Rev Tom Conway throws water around our photographer after a service at Knocknamuckley Parish
Rev Tom Conway throws water around our photographer after a service at Knocknamuckley Parish
Knocknamuckley Parish
Ousted minister, Rev Alan Kilpatrick

A clergyman who threw water over a Belfast Telegraph photographer has left his role at a troubled church after his outrageous behaviour.

Rev Tom Conway had just taken his first service at the divided Knocknamuckley parish church two Sundays ago when he lashed out at Kevin Scott.

The former chaplain at the Ulster Hospital threw a basin and bottle of water over him outside the church near Portadown, before threatening to sue this paper if his picture was printed.

The elderly minister later issued a one-line apology via the Church of Ireland press office, stating that, on reflection, he regretted his actions.

"The Bishop and I have discussed it and it has been decided that it is better if I step aside," Rev Conway told the Belfast Telegraph yesterday.

Services at the church will now be taken by retired clergyman Canon John Moore and Capt Scott McDonald of the Church Army.

Canon Moore took the 11am service on Sunday which went without any hitch. He is a respected clergyman who served for many years as rector at Waringstown Parish before retiring, but continued to help out at the Shankill Parish in the Down and Dromore Diocese.

A statement from the Church of Ireland last night stated: "Rev Conway had kindly agreed to take the Sunday morning service on May 31 and to then assist pastorally in the parish.

"However, the Rev Tom Conway has since decided to step back from assisting pastorally at this time."

It added: "Canon John Moore will continue to conduct morning services over the coming weeks and Capt Scott McDonald, of the Church Army, will be taking evening services and will also be available for pastoral care in the parish."

Last week, we published the shocking series of photographs, captured by Kevin, in which Rev Conway can be seen shouting at and hurling a basin of water at the young snapper.

Kevin was accompanying Telegraph journalist Una Brankin as she covered both the service at St Matthias Church of Ireland, and the church's breakaway "missional congregation" led by Rev Alan Kilpatrick in Craigavon.

"If you post a photograph of me in the paper, I'll sue you, there's a lot of hurt over what yous (sic) are writing... I'll sue you both!" Rev Conway shouted as he left the church.

The furious minister then took a grip of soaked Kevin's right arm and refused to let go until the photographer gave him three warnings and pointed out he was on public ground.

After the Belfast Telegraph made several attempts to contact the minister, he issued a one-sentence apology through the Church of Ireland Press office.

"On reflection, I would like to express my regret for over-reacting to Press attention after the service in Knocknamuckley Parish yesterday, and to apologise to the photographer and journalist involved," said Rev Conway.

The rift at the Co Armagh parish erupted over Rev Kilpatrick's so-called 'happy clappy' services and claims he has links with an American revivalist group.

Belfast Telegraph

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