Disgruntled members of troubled Knocknamuckley Church of Ireland in Co Armagh have called for members of the select vestry to resign after a series of meetings were held on Wednesday night to find “the way forward”.
Disquiet amongst the congregation emanated from their minister Rev Alan Kilpatrick’s modern style of ministry.
In recent weeks Rev Kilpatrick moved to a missional congregation in Craigavon taking a number of parishioners with him.
Speaking to the News Letter after the meeting in Knocknamuckley church for members still attending St Matthias’s, one parishioner said: “The meeting in Knocknamuckley Church was hot and heavy for an hour and a half.
“The whole thing is a total mess from start to finish and something that could have been totally avoided.
“We are unhappy that the vestry, the majority of which support (Rev) Kilpatrick, are now in the missional congregation and still hold the purse strings to our church.
“And we want them out given they no longer come to our church.”
He added that it was “also mentioned during the meeting that Rev Kilpatrick could rescind his resignation and come back which would start another row”.
However, a spokeswoman for the Church of Ireland said the current select vestry is constitutionally in place until next year’s Easter vestry.
“Of course, any individual member of any select vestry is free to resign at any time,” she added.
She said that Rev Kilpatrick “has indicated that he intends to step down at the end of September but can legally choose to stay if he so desires”.
“The actual date will be dependent upon everything being settled and agreed,” she added.
She said that “Knocknamuckley and the missional congregation will become separate entities but both will remain in the Diocese of Down and Dromore under the authority of the Bishop of Down and Dromore”.