With the current Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Charles McMullen, attending various services in Belfast to commemorate the centenary of the ending of the First World War, Dr Patterson will take part in a Christian act of worship as part of the Dublin Castle ceremonial state event.
“As Moderator in 2011 I was unable to attend President Higgins’ first inauguration, so I am very pleased that I can take part in this one. The Presbyterian Church in Ireland is a part of Irish life, playing its part in various ways in communities up and down the country, so it is a privilege to be able to represent the Church at this significant state occasion.
Dr Patterson will read from Mark Chapter 10: 35-45. Explaining his choice of scripture, the former Moderator said, “I chose these verses from Mark’s Gospel as they reflect what I see as the essential nature of leadership, one that is relevant to all those who are called to high office and exemplified by those who occupy the presidency, and that is the servanthood of leadership.”
The Constitution of Ireland stipulates that the inauguration should take place on the day following of the expiry of the term of office of the preceding president. This has meant that today’s ceremony was moved to the early evening, as it initially coincided with Armistice Day services that also marked the centenary of the end of the First World War.
Commenting on this accommodation Dr Patterson said, “In taking Armistice Day and this significant anniversary into account, I would like to pay tribute to President Higgins who suggested that his inauguration be delayed, so that those who wished to attend the centenary Armistice Day commemorations could do so.”
The Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Charles McMullen, wrote to congratulate President Michael D. Higgins on his re-eletion in October. Earlier this year Dr Noble McNeely visited President Higgins at Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of the President of Ireland. The visit was part of his week-long Moderator's tour of the Church's Presbytery of Dublin and Munster. You can read about his visit here.