Installation of new Presbyterian Moderator to be attended by just four due to Covid-19

Church’s annual General Assembly postponded for first time in 180 years

The new Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland Rev Dr David Bruce will become the 175th person to hold that office on Monday evening when he is installed in Belfast at a special livestreamed ceremony due to be attended by just four people. As leader of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland he will hold office for a year.

Normally the installation of a new Moderator takes place on the opening night of the Church's annual General Assembly at Church House in Belfast before an attendance of over 900 people from across Ireland as well as representatives from the other churches.

This year’s General Assembly was cancelled in April owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. It is the first time in 180 years that the Presbyterian Church in Ireland has had to cancel its annual gathering. . The standing commission of the General Assembly will meet by video conference to conduct necessary business on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

Attending the installation will be clerk of the General Assembly and general secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland Rev Trevor Gribben, outgoing Moderator Rev Dr William Henry, new Moderator Rev Dr Bruce, and deputy clerk of the General Assembly Rev Jim Stothers.


It is intended that all appropriate health and safety precautions will be followed at the installation in Church House's large Assembly Hall, including government guidance on social distancing.

The ceremony can be viewed at with addresses from both Rev Dr Henry and his successor Rev Dr Bruce.

New Moderator Rev Dr Bruce (63) was ordained in 1984 and served in Ballymena Co Antrim before being installed in 1987 as Minister of Clontarf, Ormond Quay and Scots Presbyterian Churches in Dublin where he was until 1992, Since then he has served in Church administration at senior levels in Belfast.

Married to Zoe, a former schoolteacher, they have four adult children and two grandchildren.

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry

Patsy McGarry is a contributor to The Irish Times