Green Pastures church in Ballymena suffering from ‘governance issues’

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Green Pastures church in Ballymena has notified the charity regulator of some “issues” with the way it is being run.

It comes amid reports that eight senior figures within the church have stood down.

It is not clear exactly what these “issues” are.

The church is a non-denominational evangelical one based in a large, grey industrial-style building, and has historic ties to Wrightbus.

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Green Pastures

In 2019, when Wrightbus went into administration, it emerged that the church had been given £15m by the business over a six-year period.

An internal church e-mail, reproduced in the media and attributed to the eight executive team members, said it was “with the heaviest and most sorrowful of hearts that each of us intend to tender our resignations to the board from our duties and employment with Green Pastures Church”.

They stressed this was not part of a “plot” to undermine pastor Jeff Wright.

The Charity Commission told the News Letter today that the church “recently” made it “aware of some internal governance issues”.

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It said: “The Commission is monitoring the situation and engaging with the charity but an investigation has not been opened at this time.”

According to both the UK official business register Companies House and the Charity Commission, the church’s proper name is “Green Pastures, the People’s Church”.

The church was registered in 2007 with Companies House (where it is listed as a limited-by-guarantee company, a category typically used by non-profit outfits).

As of today the company has five directors: Jason Neil Kennedy, Karen Kernoghan, Brian Somerville, Rev Roy Todd, and Pastor Wright; all of them except Mr Kennedy are also trustees of the church’s charitable side.

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Company accounts show that as of the year ending 2016 (when it first started filing expanded accounts) income stood at £8.3m.

It was then £5.2m in 2017, £7.8m in 2018, £7.4m in 2019, and £4.3m during a 16-month period from May 2019 to September 2020.

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