Minister laments ‘disdain’ for Sabbath after church closure

A Giro rider pictured in Northern Ireland
A Giro rider pictured in Northern Ireland

The minister of a church forced to close to facilitate a cycling event plans to protest over the “disdain in which the Sabbath is held” in Northern Ireland.

Carryduff Free Presbyterian is on the route of the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia this Sunday.

For more than five hours, police will close 175km of roads across the Province to allow amateur cyclists to enjoy the big race experience.

Rev David McLaughlin has been notified that the closure of the Ballynure Road means he cannot conduct services between 10.45am and 3.15pm. As a result, one service has been brought forward and another has been cancelled.

“We have consulted with the police, and public representatives who have been as helpful as they can be, but at the end of it all, the event is going ahead and we are having our religious freedom curtailed,” he said.

“We have verbally expressed our views to the Shadetree Sports representative without much effect. We therefore must protest at the organiser’s disregard of the local population and particularly of a local church. Surely if they must have a race on a Sunday they could schedule it down a road without a church at the time church services are being held?”