Ousted minister ‘still has future within church’

Rev Stephen Dickinson
Rev Stephen Dickinson

A Presbyterian Minister who was removed from his post last week may continue his ministry within the church in the future, the organisation’s communications officer has said.

Reverend Stephen Dickinson was dramatically removed as Minister of both Cairnalbana and Glenarm churches, along with the elders of the Cairnalbana congregation.

The Rev Dickinson, who less than a decade ago was Deputy Grand Master of the Orange Order, said he has been devastated by the decision of the Judicial Commission of the General Assembly.

The church’s highest governing body said the Rev Dickinson’s usefulness within the church had been seriously impaired amid a breakdown in relationships there.

Speaking on BBC radio on Sunday the Communications Officer for the Presbyterian Church Stephen Lynas said the mood in the church has been a sombre one since the decision was taken.

But Mr Lynas added that decision, which some have said is opposed by around 70 per cent of the congregation, does not end Rev Dickinson’s future within the church.

Mr Lynas said Rev Dickinson is “still a minister in good standing” and added that there is “every potential his ministry will continue” with another congregation.

Speaking to the News Letter last week Rev Dickinson said there had been a campaign of “persecution” against him and his wife which had involved anonymous calls to the house and led to his wife being hospitalised with two mental breakdowns.

He said that a number of the church “just made my life miserable trying to push me out”.