Pastor McConnell announces immediate retirement

Pastor James McConnell
Pastor James McConnell

Pastor James McConnell has announced his immediate retirement as minister of Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle in north Belfast.

Pastor McConnell’s remarks earlier this year, when he described Islam as “heathen ... satanic ... a doctrine spawned in hell”, caused controversy.

The pastor, who later apologised for any offence caused, announced on Monday his decision to retire after 57 years of ministry at Whitewell in a statement read out to the congregation.

The 77-year-old said: “This past 18 months I have fought with myself what to do regarding my leadership in Whitewell, and now I feel the hour is come to completely hand over the reins to Pastor David Purse and all the pastors who assist him.”

On his controversial remarks, he said: “I still believe that radical Muslim ideology and doctrine poses a huge threat to this country and to the world.”