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Knocknamuckley rector leaves post for new 'plant'

12 June 2015

iSTOCK

THE Rector of Knocknamuckley, near Portadown, the Revd Alan Kilpatrick, is to relinquish his post at the end of September, when he will leave to establish a new mission "church plant" near by in Craigavon that will reflect his enthusiasm for Charismatic worship.

Mr Kilpatrick has been at the centre of a dispute with some parishioners at St Matthias's, Knocknamuckley, where there were arguments about his style of liturgy and his initial refusal to allow a traditional Royal Black Preceptory (a Protestant fraternal society) presence at an evening service. There was also disquiet about links being forged with the Bethel Church based in California.

The Bishop of Down & Dromore, the Rt Revd Harold Miller, convened a discussion group that led to the Rector's allowing the preceptory service, and enabling a general forum within the parish to discuss the future. The group decided that the congregation should separate - one remaining at St Matthias's, and another at a venue in Craigavon, both to be under the authority of Bishop Miller.

The new arrangement began on 31 May. Mr Kilpatrick will remain as incumbent until 30 September, when he will step down as Rector and become minister-in-charge of the new mission congregation.

A statement issued by the diocese says: "In the months of June to September, while remaining Rector, Alan Kilpatrick has agreed that the services in St Matthias will be led by another clergyman, and that alternative pastoral cover will be provided for those who require it."

Bishop Miller has established a working group to investigate the theologies of both the Royal Black Preceptory and the Bethel Church in northern California, and has appointed Dr Christina Baxter to chair it.

The statement went on: "He has asked for a continued period of 'gracious provisional judgement' while it carries out its work."

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