Published Monday, 02 September 2013
Ballynahinch Congregational Church, on the Dromore Road, became an unusual location for a protest after things got out of hand during the Sunday service.
The crowd began heckling Reverend George Speers who has been minister there for seven years and at one stage a man tried to pull the plug on the church organ.
Around 40 people got up from their seats during the service and started shouting and jeering at the minister - who tried to continue speaking, using a megaphone.
A church trustee had to be removed from the building and police are aware of an allegation that someone was head-butted, as years of simmering tensions boiled over into angry protest.
The trustee, Samuel Graham, said churchgoers are divided in support of the Reverend.
"The majority of folk here have had enough and they voiced their opinion at the front of the church for the removal of the minister," Mr Graham told UTV.
"He's the former minister because he has been removed, 55 people attended a meeting and George Speers got no votes to remain as minister."
Rev Speers was meeting with his supporters on Monday but didn't want to be interviewed; however he has told those closest to him that he is not ready to leave.
His supporters allege that the vote which was taken was unconstitutional.
Local councillor Mickey Coogan said people felt intimidated by the protest.
He said: "People turned up for a church service as usual then a number of people came into the church and there was a protest of sorts during which a number of people felt intimidated.
"They were jeered at and jostled and police had to remove people from the church."
Calm was restored after police officers were called to the church at around 10am.
A PSNI statement said: "Police can confirm they attended a disturbance at a premises on the Dromore Road, Ballynahinch at approximately 10.00am, Sunday 1 September."
Those who oppose Reverend George Speers say they plan to protest again on Sunday.
© UTV News