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Presbyterian Mutual Society debate is played out on Twitter

The Presbyterian Mutual Society (PMS) was not just being debated in Church House — impassioned discussion was also being played out on Twitter.

Members of the social networking website expressed their views of the controversy as the debate took place in real time — perhaps the first time that Twitter has hosted a debate on a church’s finances.

The Twitter page of BBC Radio Ulster broadcaster William Crawley presented his comments as the Church House debate unfolded.

One referred to a director of the society, who called his work “an extension of my service to the church”.

Another director defended the society’s board, protesting that directors “did not sell their souls for monetary gain”.

Rev Derek McKelvey was also quoted: “The Bible says Christians are not permitted to sue each other.” Mr Crawley continued: “Big applause. Might get him elected mod [moderator] next year.”

“Rev Shaw Thompson, 1st Dromara, describes pain he feels at solicitors letters threatening to sue him,” Mr Crawley observed in another tweet. Comment by the Sunday Sequence presenter ended with: “No resolutions brought. No voice raised to criticise church’s handling of the crisis.”

Another commentator remarked on his Twitter page: “Lots of transport analogies during PMS debate — boats in choppy waters, buses ...”

Someone else implied contradictions between the directors’ duties and their religious faith.

“Should the PMS directors as respected Christians allow their actions to be made transparent? If they have nothing to fear...”

He/she also raised whether savers were made aware that their savings were being put into property funds.

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