Presbyterian moderator to take evangelical approach

The next moderator of the Presbyterian Church said he will take an evangelical approach to his ministry.

Rev Rob Craig is currently the minister of Kilfennan Presbyterian Church in Londonderry.

He will take up the post at the church's General Assembly in Derry in June.

It is being held in the city for the first time since 1933 to coincide with the UK City of Culture celebrations.

Dr Craig said he was humbled to be selected.

"This means a lot to local people, that one of their own has been selected as moderator," he said.

"I've been in Derry for 19 years. I've felt people have taken me to their hearts."

The last time a minister from the north west was elected was in the mid-70s.

He described his ministry as evangelical.

"It is the message of the gospel that brought me into ministry. But I've always tried to get on with people. I have a love for God's word and a love for people," he said.

Widespread support

Dr Craig was nominated by 17 of the 19 presbyteries which met on Tuesday to vote for a new moderator.

Rev John Dickinson, minister of the Carnmoney congregation, received the remaining two nominations.

"We are a democratic church. It's the person with the most votes that is elected," said Dr Craig.

"But we always get behind our moderator. I've been in touch with Rev Dickinson, we work as a team," he said.

Dr Craig has been minister in Kilfennan for 19 years.

Born in Magherafelt, he graduated from Queens University, Belfast, and joined the Christian missionary organization Operation Mobilisation.

He served with them in the Bihar region in the north of India for three years, working in street mission and literature distribution.

He completed his training for the Presbyterian ministry at Union Theological College in Belfast and gained a Divinity degree before being ordained in 1983.

He served as minister of the County Down congregations of Clough and Seaforde in 1985 and nine years later became the minister of Kilfennan.

In 2012 he graduated with a Doctor of Ministry, also from Union Theological College.

Dr Craig is married with two daughters.