Ministers and elders from the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s (PCI) 19 regional presbyteries met across Ireland this evening and chose Portrush minister, Rev John Kirkpatrick, to be the Church’s next Moderator.
Known as the Moderator-Designate until the Church’s General Assembly in June, he will formally succeed the current Moderator, Right Reverend Dr David Bruce, as PCI’s principal public representative at this summer’s meeting. A son and grandson ‘of the Manse’ – he was one of four nominees that the all-Ireland denomination had to choose from this year, which traditionally elects its Moderator-Designate on the first Tuesday in February.
Alongside Mr Kirkpatrick, this year’s nominees were Rev Dr Colin McClure, minister of First Larne Presbyterian Church, Rev Dr Trevor McCormick, minister of Frist Kilrea and Boveedy Presbyterian Churches and Rev Alastair McNeely, minister of Richhill Presbyterian Church. Each received the following votes:
- Rev John Kirkpatrick 10 votes: The Presbyteries of Ballymena, North Belfast, South Belfast, East Belfast, Dromore, Dublin & Munster, Iveagh, Omagh, Templepatrick and Tyrone
- Rev Dr Colin McClure 1 vote: The Presbytery of Carrickfergus
- Rev Dr Trevor McCormick 3 votes: The Presbyteries of Coleraine & Limavady, Newry, and Route
- Rev Alastair McNeely 5 votes: The Presbyteries of Ards, Armagh, Derry & Donegal, Down, Monaghan.
Having received the most votes from the Church’s 19 presbyteries, Mr Kirkpatrick will be the denomination’s 177th Moderator since 1840 and its first from Portrush Presbyterian Church.