Rev. Ian Paisley
After a five-hour presbytery meeting on 7 September, Dr Ian Paisley announced he would step down as Free Presbyterian of Ulster moderator in January. The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader also said he intended to continue his work as a clergyman.
Speaking later to his congregation at Martyrs’ Memorial Church in Belfast, Lord Paisley said he had agreed to stand down because the church was facing a ‘very real crisis’.
‘While I am no longer going to carry the weight which I have carried for over 56 years as moderator of our Presbytery, I have news for you … I will be here and I am praying to God that I will be able to preach right to the end of my days’, he said in reports distributed by the BBC.
Dr Paisley has been elected moderator of the Free Presbyterian Church every year except one since he founded the church in 1951. The DUP, which also owes its present status to Paisley, is the largest political party in Ulster.