Editor's note: Dr. Paisley has personally dealt with many of these controversies in a recent Sunday morning service (1/20/08) at Martyrs Memorial FPC, Belfast, Northern Ireland. You can hear the entire audio here.
A Ballymena priest has sought to clarify claims that a service in which he recently took part with Ian Paisley was ecumenical in nature.
The service was attended by Protestant and Catholic Scouts and their parents. It is understood that Mr Paisley was there in his capacity as First Minister and as the local MP and MLA.
However, following radio coverage on the story, a difference of opinion appears to have arisen as to whether or not the service was ecumenical. Mr Paisley, who stepped down as Moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church on Friday night after more than 50 years in office, indicated yesterday that he would not have agreed to take part in such a service, and claimed that arrangements had been changed.
" I would like to state categorically that I consented to no such service in Ballymena," he said in a statement, following a recorded interview with Fr Symonds on BBC's Sunday Sequence.
Mr Paisley told the programme: "I was asked by the Scouts to attend a celebration of their movement. They also asked me to read the scriptures and to pray and then say a few words.
"When I arrived at the service those arrangements were completely changed. The priest concerned maintained on Sunday Sequence that I had agreed to taking part with him in the service.
"This is totally untrue. I was never officially told that the service order had been changed and I would not have agreed to take part in an ecumenical service.
"I was quite happy to speak to the Scouts and also to stand with them when they took their pledge of allegiance to the Queen."