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Parishioners call on 'entertaining' church minister Alan Kilpatrick to leave

By Lesley Houston

Published 22/04/2015

Parishioners attend a meeting at Knocknamuckley Church of Ireland last night
Parishioners attend a meeting at Knocknamuckley Church of Ireland last night

Parishioners upset by a new, modern style of worship at their church say they want their minister to go.

Others in the congregation of Knocknamuckley Church of Ireland outside Portadown said they would be content if the Rev Alan Kilpatrick would consult with them about the dramatic changes he has introduced since his installation in November 2013.

Several dozen members of the church met last night to discuss the era of change ushered in by the Scots-born minister.

Some said they no longer recognised their church as a place of worship and one parishioner said it was more like an entertainment venue.

"The only thing missing is an entertainments licence," the man said outside Bleary Community Centre near Lurgan last night.

Rev Kilpatrick, who has come under fire for his 'trendy' style of ministry, abandoning traditional clerical robes and wearing several earrings, was invited to the private meeting.

The minister did not attend, telling the Belfast Telegraph it was his day off.

"I spend the day with my family as I normally do on a Tuesday," he said.

He was asked to address the concerns raised, but said he did not wish to comment.

Alastair Uprichard (72) has been a parishioner for many years.

He said: "It is very sad to see that this state of affairs has been allowed to be carried on to this length and I hope it can be resolved. I won't leave that church that I love.

"Rev Kilpatrick preaches love but does not show love. He's very intransigent and he needs to put his words into action."

A few people said they wanted the minister to "go as soon as possible", but others said they'd be happier if he "consulted" with them.

"There's been too much change too quickly," said one 49-year-old woman.

Another 65-year-old woman, who has joined a new church, said: "I lasted six weeks from when he arrived and that was enough for me. I know the church has to move forward but it's not even like a church anymore. It's not progressing; it's more like regression."

Another woman said: "He doesn't preach from the pulpit and he wears jeans and an open-neck shirt.

"I was brought up in the traditional Church of Ireland but I wouldn't recognise any of his services.

"If someone walked in they wouldn't know it was a service and they wouldn't know he was the rector."

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