Wednesday, February 06, 2013

New Presbyterian moderator elected in Derry

http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/article29051855.ece/ALTERNATES/h342/NWS_20130206_UNC_016_26415318_I1The Rev Rob Craig was last night elected as the next moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

The 58-year-old minister of the Kilfennan Presbyterian Church on the Waterside in Derry will take over at the next Presbyterian general assembly which is being held in Derry for the first time in 80 years.

Dr Craig will succeed Dr Roy Patton who will stand down as moderator at the general assembly in June.

Dr Craig was elected by 17 of the 19 presbyteries which met last night throughout Ireland. 

The only other candidate was the Rev John Dickinson, minister of the Carnmoney congregation in Co Antrim close to Belfast.

Dr Craig was predicted to win last night’s vote as it was felt it would be fitting to have a Derry moderator in place in a year when the general assembly was in Derry and when Derry was the UK City of Culture.

“Personally I am deeply humbled and honoured to be elected moderator and am delighted for the congregations and members within the Presbytery of Derry and Strabane and west of the Bann in general for whom this a clear sign of support from the wider Presbyterian Church,” said Dr Craig.

Dr Craig, who has been minister at Kilfennan for 19 years, is married to Karen and they have two daughters Rachel and Hannah. Away from church life he says he is a sports fan who has “come late to golf” and is particularly interested in rugby as well as enjoying a good film.

Good neighbours 

He describes his ministry as open, welcoming and caring, and encouraging people to be good neighbours. 

“At Kilfennan we think of ourselves as a church in the community, Presbyterian in our practice, but where we hope to be salt and light to people from all backgrounds,” he said.

Education 

Dr Craig was born in Magherafelt, Co Derry and educated at Armstrong Primary School in Armagh and Wallace High School, Lisburn, and attended Lowe Memorial Presbyterian Church in Finaghy in south Belfast.

After completing a BA degree at Queen’s University, Belfast, he joined the Christian missionary organisation Operation Mobilisation and served with them in the Bihar region in the north of India for three years working in street mission and literature distribution. 

He completed his training for the Presbyterian ministry at Union Theological College in Belfast gaining a divinity degree before being ordained in 1983.

After serving as assistant minister in Glengormley, he was called to be minister of the Co Down congregations of Clough and Seaforde in 1985 and nine years later became the minister of Kilfennan. 

In 2012 he graduated as a Doctor in Ministry also from Union Theological College.

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