Moderator in first of two visits to Westminster

25.4.2023 | Moderator, Church in Society, Public Affairs

Presbyterian Moderator, Right Reverend Dr John Kirkpatrick, is in Westminster today for the first of two separate visits over the next two weeks. Accompanied by his wife Joan, he follows in the footsteps of successive leaders of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI) who have undertaken annual visits to the Palace of Westminster to meet with Members of Parliament from constituencies across Northern Ireland.

“Throughout their time in office Moderators have various opportunities to meet with our elected representatives from across the island and since last June, when I took office, I have met a number of our MLAs and MPs, TDs and Senators,” Dr Kirkpatrick said.

“While very much a pastoral visit, it is also an important opportunity to listen and talk privately, and to encourage our MPs in the role and the calling that they have in serving their constituents, while holding the government of the day to account. As Christians we have a biblical call and responsibility to pray for those in authority, regardless of party or politics. It is something we should take seriously, and I hope I will have the opportunity to pray with them,” the Moderator said.

Dr Kirkpatrick’s visit began at the House of Commons on Tuesday where he will meet the leader of the DUP, Sir Jeffrey Donaldson MP, and other members of the DUP Parliamentary Party. Over the course of his two-day visit he is also scheduled to meet with the SDLP Members of Parliament for Foyle and South Belfast, party leader Colum Eastwood and Clare Hanna; Stephen Farry, the Alliance Party deputy leader and Member of Parliament for North Down, and Sinn Féin representatives, including Fermanagh and South Tyrone MP, Michelle Gildernew. The Moderator will also take time to meet with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Rt Hon Chris Heaton-Harris MP.

Dr Kirkpatrick will return to London a week on Saturday, this time to Westminster Abbey, when he will attend the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III on 6 May.

Photo: Dr and Mrs Kirkpatick outside the Houses of  Parliament today.

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