PASTOR James McConnell dramatically walked out on his church tonight.
After 57 years of ministry at Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle, Pastor James McConnell announced this evening his immediate retirement.
In a statement read out to the Whitewell congregation he said “This past 18 months I have fought with myself what to do regarding my leadership in Whitewell, and now I feel the hour is come to completely hand over the reins to Pastor David Purse and all the Pastors who assist him”
The date is significant in that it marks Pastor David Purse’s completion of 4 years as associate Pastor.
When Pastor McConnell first started work as a boy in Harland and Wolff shipyard apprenticeships were 4 years.
Pastor David Purse has now completed his four years as associate Pastor at the Tabernacle.
The retirement may seem sudden, but Pastor McConnell did not want a long drawn-out period of time between his announcement and his retirement.
His desire was that he would continue to bring God’s Word to the church, and that the congregation could continue to focus on the messages he had prepared, instead of being distracted by his coming retirement.
When asked about his recent remarks regarding radical Islam, Pastor McConnell commented “I still believe that radical Muslim ideology and doctrine poses a huge threat to this country and to the world.
“In support of my stance against radical Islam, I received thousands of emails, cards and hundreds of phone calls and gifts left to the church, from all sides of the political divide in Northern Ireland, all over the UK, western Europe, the US, and indeed some from the middle east.”
Regarding his future involvement in the Tabernacle Pastor stated “To withdraw myself is not easy, but it is most necessary to give Pastor David Purse every chance to exercise his ministry and to feel his liberty to do what he believes God wants him to accomplish.”