The Church of Ireland parish at Knocknamuckley is split over its minister.
A brewing row over the future of Rev Alan Kilpatrick has made headlines in recent days with parishioners divided on his style of ministry.
According to some disgruntled parishioners a number of people have left the church to worship elsewhere, put off by Mr Kilpatrick’s modern style.
One said she had left as she felt his ministry was not suitable for the conservative Knocknamuckley church.
She said: “He’ll go down the aisle pointing at people saying I’m going to pray for you, and you and you. I don’t want him anywhere near me.”
Rev Kilpatrick took over in 2013, with parishioners becoming increasing uncomfortable with his approach. But an intervention by the Bishop of Down and Dromore has now been ruled out.
The Right Rev Harold Miller in a statement said: “The rector is the spiritual authority in the parish. I trust that any disagreements can be resolved amicably in a spirit of Christian fellowship.”
The congregation of St Matthias would appear to be split over their ‘modern’ rector.
For some a move to neighbouring Newmills Presbyterian has been the order of service, while for others that is a trip too far.
One parishioner told the ‘MAIL’: “He’s just not what we want in Knocknamuckley, he’d be better suited in Belfast, not a rural and quite conservative parish like this one.
“We’re not in to all that happy clappy stuff.”
Another bone of contention has been over a black parade and service at the church which has now been moved to the church hall. A spokesman for the Royal Black Preceptory would only confirm the move but refused to comment further.
Another churchgoer backed the minister. He said: “I believe God has a plan for his Church and Rev Kilpatrick is part of that plan, he deserves our support and encouragement not heckling from the sidelines.”