Along with Church of Ireland and Roman Catholic Archbishops of Armagh, the Presidents of the Methodist Church in Ireland, the Irish Council of Churches and the Bishop of Connor, Dr Kirkpatrick met Their Majesties the King and Queen Consort when they arrived at the Cathedral and led a prayer during a Christian act of worship. Along with his fellow Church Leaders, the Moderator also took part in the closing blessing.
Speaking after the Service of Reflection, Dr Kirkpatrick said, “Having been a part of this special and unique moment, where we had an opportunity to give thanks to God for the life and service of the Queen, it is still difficult to think back to just a week ago and those pictures of her receiving a new Prime Minister at Balmoral. It is perhaps a reminder that life, however long-lived, is still transient.
“In times of personal loss we see a coming together in families and local communities, where gestures of grace are offered to comfort those who mourn. It is part of who we are, and today I had that same feeling. In that spirit, before the service began, I had an opportunity to convey to the King personally our Church’s deepest, heartfelt and sincere condolences on his loss.”
Dr Kirkpatrick concluded by saying, “As the days unfold perhaps we should take a moment to reflect on the late Queen’s example of service and dedication to her calling, and ask God to show us how we can serve Him and others in our lives.”
Photo: The Moderator, Rt Rev Dr John Kirkpatick speaking to HM the King at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast prior to the start of the Service of Reflection (Credit BBC).