While his predecessor, Dr John McKean, was a guest at the late Queen’s Coronation in 1953, this is believed to be the first time that a Moderator, along with his fellow Church Leaders from the island of Ireland, will be taking part in Saturday’s historic event, as they process together ahead of the King and Queen Consort at the start of the service.
“For all the pomp and pageantry, and amongst the symbolism and all the spectacle, at its very heart is a Christian service of dedication and blessing. It is a great privilege to be able to take part in the King’s Coronation and an honour to be able to represent Irish Presbyterians at such a unique and historic occasion that hasn’t been seen for 70 years,” Dr Kirkpatrick said.
“As people tune in on Saturday to see King Charles crowned, it will be for many people, especially in Northern Ireland, a special moment. With Coronation services taking place across our denomination on Sunday, along with an array of community events to mark the occasion in which our churches are involved, this is also a time of thanksgiving and celebration.”
The Moderator continued, “As a Christian leader, and a witness in the Abbey representing my brothers and sisters in Christ of all ages back home in PCI, the Coronation is a reminder of the meaningful place that Christianity still has in the fabric of national life.
“The service reminds us as well of the biblical call to pray for those in authority, without fear or favour, in the name of the King of Kings, while acknowledging the Grace of God that King Charles will need in order to do all that he is called to do. The Coronation also speaks to us of where we can find truth. For when the King is presented with the Bible, he is told that it is ‘…the most valuable thing that this world affords.’”
Dr Kirkpatrick concluded by saying, “While Moderators have been privileged to attend the inauguration of the Presidents of Ireland and other national events and commemorations, we are also in a unique position to be able to represent our people at state occasions in the United Kingdom. My predecessor Dr Bruce, for example, took part in the Service of Thanksgiving for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee at St Paul’s Cathedral last June, while I took part in the State Funeral following her death in September. Tomorrow is another opportunity to bear witness to, and be part of, a very special moment in time.”
Image: The Moderator's official invitation from the Earl Marshall, the Duke of Norfolk, to attend the Coronation of Their Majesties the King and Queen on Saturday at Westminster Abbey.