Pastor sued by missionaries

Church hit by payment row

A Major cash row which has rocked a popular north Belfast church is set to end up in court.

Sunday Life understands a writ will be issued to Pastor James McConnell of the Whitewell Metropolitan Tabernacle, next month.

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The legal proceedings are expected to be initiated by Whitewell missionaries Leslie and Brenda Lyons, who have been working in the Costa Blanca area of Spain, for the last 29 years.

It is understood pastor McConnell has been accused of “breach of contract” after payments to the Lyons was stopped in 2004.

Said Pastor McConnell: “As far as I know it’s going to court and when this happens I will talk about the story.

“I can’t comment at the minute because this is a legal matter.”

Speaking from Spain, Mr Lyons (59) refused to comment on the row until after the court proceedings were concluded.

Mr Lyons said: “I don’t want to say anything about this matter at the minute.”

The missionaries, originally from Belfast, helped set up four churches in the east of Spain on behalf of Whitewell Missions.

The source claimed money was stopped because Pastor McConnell believed the missionaries had applied to join another church.

Said the source: “There has been a lot of letters exchanged between solicitors for both parties over the last two years, but nothing has been resolved.

“The row has been the talk of the church because the Lyons and pastor McConnell were very close at one stage.

“Churchgoers know the matter is now going to court and it will be interesting to see what comes out of it.

“The dispute is all about money and a court case is the last thing the church needs at the minute.”

Pastor McConnell has given 47 years unbroken service to the Whitewell Tabernacle and has organised a number of missions in Europe.


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The Belfast Telegraph / Sunday Life, UK
Aug. 20, 2006
Stephen Breen
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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday August 21, 2006.
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