A move allegedly made by Rev George Speers to replace the elected diaconate at Ballynahinch Congregational Church with three elders, one of whom was himself, is unheard of, according to a member of the church’s union.
The church’s trustees claim three years ago Rev Speers removed the deacons elected by the congregation and announced that he would be running the church with two assistants whom he had appointed elders.
Yesterday a member of the Congregational Union of Ireland told the News Letter this situation is not one he has come across before.
Rev Raymond McLarnin, honorary secretary of the union, has been associated with the Congregational Churches all his life and said: “It (the situation) is unique to me.”
He described the ongoing tension within that particular church as “grievous”.
“We are trying to do our best to try and help in some way,” the Lisburn Congregational Church member said.
“Up to now the church as a whole would have been reluctant to get involved. Our churches are mostly independent and we were hoping this could be dealt with within the four walls.
“We just don’t know what will resolve the situation at this point.
“It had been a quiet summer, I was wondering what was going on.
“I was disappointed to learn what had happened last weekend.”