The Rev Rob Craig was last night elected as the next moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
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.
Craig was elected by 17 of the 19 presbyteries which met last night
The only other candidate was the Rev John Dickinson,
minister of the Carnmoney congregation in Co Antrim close to Belfast.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.