Northern Ireland

Presbyterians select new moderator

Rev Roy Patton
Image caption Mr Patton was ordained as a Presbyterian minister in 1981

The next moderator of the Presbyterian Church will be Rev Roy Patton.

The 58-year-old is currently the minister of Ballygilbert Presbyterian Church in County Down.

Mr Patton was nominated by eight of the 19 Presbyteries which met on Tuesday throughout Ireland to vote for a new moderator.

He will take up office on 28 May, succeeding Dr Ivan Patterson. Mr Patton has been minister in Ballygilbert for 17 years.

"I am humbled by my nomination as moderator and am very aware of my own shortcomings and the responsibility of the office," he said.

"However, I know God will give me the strength to fulfil the task to which he has called me and I have the confidence of the support of my wife and the prayers of my congregation and wider church family and friends."

Born in Monaghan, Mr Patton graduated from Trinity College in 1977 with a BA in History, Philosophy and New Testament Studies.

He completed his training for the Presbyterian ministry at Union Theological College in Belfast in 1980 and in 1981 was ordained as assistant minister in St Enoch's in north Belfast before moving to Downshire Road in Newry in 1983.

Eleven years later, in 1994 he became minister of Ballygilbert outside Bangor.

Rev John Dickinson, minister of Carnmoney received four nominations, Rev Joseph Andrews of the Ballee congregation in Ballymena three nominations, with Rev Rob Craig of Kilfennan and Clerk of Assembly Rev Donald Watts receiving two nominations each.