Presbyterian Church in Ireland

Church in Ireland moderator given honorary doctorate

Rev Wlliam Henry, the incoming moderator of the Church in Ireland, has been awarded with an honorary degree, as is tradition. 

The next Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Minister of Maze Presbyterian Church, Rev William Henry, has been awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity.

It is a tradition of the Church to acknowledge the incoming Moderator with this honour, which was conferred by the Presbyterian Theological Faculty, Ireland at its annual graduation ceremony at the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s Assembly Buildings in Belfast.



Dr Henry, the youngest moderator in recent records, was one of a number of recipients of awards, which included five ministry students at Union Theological College graduating with Postgraduate Diploma in Ministry and two students graduating with Graduate Certificates in Youth Ministry.

Rev Professor Michael McClenahan, Professor of Systematic Theology at UTC, spoke about the years that he had known the Moderator-Designate, which included an eight week placement in Dr Henry’s Maze congregation as part of his application for the ministry.

Describing him as his “respected brother in Jesus Christ and as a minister of the Gospel of God,” Professor McClenahan also spoke of the Dr Henry’s clear sense of God’s call on his life to the ministry.

This included serving in Whiteabbey Presbyterian Church, as Assistant Minister to Rev Trevor Gribben, who is now Clerk of the General Assembly, and Dr Henry’s call to Maze Presbyterian Church in 1997.

He also told of Dr Henry’s close involvement with the local community, his 20 year service on the Board of Governors of Meadow Bridge Primary School of which he was chairman for many years. 

“His ministry has been marked by a number of priorities: priorities with which he began his ministry and which he continues to prioritise. William describes his ministry as ‘nothing out of the ordinary’: a commitment to the Bible, to prayer, and to people. His preaching is clear and challenging. The claims of the Lord Jesus Christ are pressed on those who hear him,” he said.

Speaking of his early days at Maze, which he said was well known to the thousands and thousands of commuters who see it every day from the M1, “The large buildings and the young vibrant congregation should not mask for us the history of William’s ministry. By his own testimony the early years in the congregation were far from encouraging. There may be over 100 people in bible study groups today, but there were 6 at his first midweek, 5 at his second.”

Professor McClenahan concluded by saying, “The church awaits his term of office with anticipation that his leadership will enable us to understand our contemporary situation more clearly and to grasp more fully the significance of Jesus Christ and his cross for this generation. We assure him, is wife Nora, and children Bethany, Megan, and Connor of our warm good wishes and prayers for the year ahead.”

The former Moderator congratulated the Rev William Henry on his honorary doctorate, along with the graduates and the ministry students. 


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