The minister at the centre of a bitter dispute at Ballynahinch Congregational Church has rejected an offer of mediation to resolve the row.
Speaking for the first time since police were called to last Sunday’s church services which saw protestors shout ‘Get Out’ at Rev George Speers as he gave his sermon, the minister said he is determined to carry on his work in the church.
Members of the congregation told the News Letter earlier this week that they have agreed to mediation on the issue a number of times.
Below is the statement in full. For the full story see Saturday’s News Letter.
“In 2003 I accepted a call to be the minister of Ballynahinch Congregational Church. Since that time I have fulfilled my calling in accordance with the teachings and doctrines of Scripture and have adhered to the principles and practices of Congregationalism.
“I will not be deterred from preaching the Gospel by the illegal actions of a group of protesters. By their actions they have violated all that Scripture teaches about worship and have denied others the fundamental liberty to worship without interference.
“I have attempted to bring about a resolution through the use of internal church structures.
“I have also engaged in joint talks facilitated by third parties. Sadly, a resolution accorded with biblical principles could not be found.
“The accusations which have been made against me are false. In accordance with the broad teachings of the Word of God however, I am unable and therefore unwilling to discuss the internal affairs of the Church in the public domain.
“I have been greatly encouraged by the messages of support given to me by members of my congregation, Ministers from various denominations and members of the general public.
“In obedience to God’s will and with His help I intend to continue to fulfil my calling as minister of Ballynahinch Congregational Church.”