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Bishop overrules rector over Portadown service

08 May 2015

PFLANNAGAN/COMMONS

Union flag: St Matthias's, Knocknamuckley 

Union flag: St Matthias's, Knocknamuckley 

A CHURCH OF IRELAND rector who refused to allow one of the main Loyalist institutions to hold an annual district service in his church in Portadown has been overruled by his bishop.

The Rector of Knocknamuckley, the Revd Alan Kilpatrick, had rejected the approach from the Royal Black Preceptory's Tandragee District to hold the service at evensong in St Matthias's, Knocknamuckley. He was at the centre of controversy earlier in the year after permitting a service with missioners from a revivalist sect, some of whose followers allegedly try to raise the dead and experience manifestations.

In a statement, the Bishop of Down & Dromore, the Rt Revd Harold Miller, promised an investigation into reported trouble at the church which has caused several parishioners to go elsewhere.

"In the midst of all of that, I note that there is, on the part of many people, a concern about Christian teaching, and fearfulness about some doctrinal expressions.

"I have decided that, where such concerns exist, the groups involved must be treated with respect but must also be open to scrutiny. This is only right. So, I will be setting up, over the next month, a small theological commission to report to me and the diocese.

"In light of this I ask for gracious provisional judgments from all parties. The rector, therefore, has agreed on this particular occasion, to give permission to the Tandragee District of the Royal Black Preceptory to use St Matthias's Church on Sunday, 10 May."

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