Moderator-Designate is Awarded a Doctor of Divinity

Rev Noble McNeely, this year’s Moderator-Designate is awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree by the Presbyterian Theological Faculty, Ireland.  This took place at their public graduation service ahead of this year’s General Assembly which opens in two weeks time.

Moderator-Designate is Awarded a Doctor of Divinity
The Principal of Union College, Professor Stafford Carson, who presided over the graduation ceremony (left) with Moderator-Designate of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Rev Dr Noble McNeely

Rev Dr McNeely was one of 24 individuals to receive various awards at the annual ceremony which took place in Belfast. He graduated with a Bachelor of Education from Stranmillis College of Education in 1976. He received his Bachelor of Divinity from Queen’s University five years later. This was prior to being ordained in Belfast’s Fisherwick Presbyterian Church in 1982.

Professor Gordon Campbell read the citation and spoke of Dr McNeely’s imagination and leadership. He pointed out how appropriate the Latin motto of Tottenham Hotspur ‘audere facere’ – ‘to dare is to do’ was to this particular fan. He spoke of the Moderator-Designate’s time in his first church, First Ballymoney Presbyterian Church.

Professor Campbell also commented about his current ministry in First Holywood. He said that they would have also experienced his pastoral sensitivity. “…indeed folk see in him a mix of courage, wisdom and faith or qualities that would have made him a good diplomat in another life!….
..… Noble has also brought imagination to the contemporary challenges of sharing Jesus Christ with ordinary people in a post-Troubles environment. Sports ministry, St Patrick’s Night events or a gift of the Easter story and a creme egg to local homes around the Church. These are examples of ways that have been found to engage the local community and commend to it the Good News.”

Professor Campbell also spoke of Dr McNeely’s involvement in church life centrally. He commented on the numerous positions on various Boards he was on. The 17 years he served on the Board of Studies and its successors. Also convening the present Council for Training and Ministry until last year, which brought in a number of key developments.
He concluded by saying, “we now look forward with anticipation to see what the Moderator-Designate will do with ‘audere facere’ in his forthcoming role.”

Rev Noble McNeely the Moderator-Designate is awarded a Doctor of Divinity degree at a recent graduation service.

Congratulating all the recipients, the Principal of Union College, Professor Stafford Carson, who presided over the graduation, commented.

“To the Moderator-Designate and all the successful students I offer my heart-felt congratulations.”

“Thirteen ministry students received a Postgraduate Diploma in Ministry and a Certificate for Licensing. This marks the end of their formal theological education in preparation for ordained ministry within the Church. The students are already serving as assistant ministers in a number of congregations. They will be licensed as probationers for the ministry by their presbyteries at services in their home congregations next month. As Union Theological College continues to prepare students for effective ministry in Ireland, our prayer is that God would use them and all recipients in significant ways that contributes to the advancement of His kingdom.”

Professor Carson also acknowledged the work of Union College’s Professor Stephen Williams who delivered the Charge to the students. He described him as ‘an internationally-recognised scholar and theologian.’ The graduation was Professor Williams’ final public event as full-time Professor of Systematic Theology. This is after 20 years of teaching at Union and at Queen’s University. You can find out more about Union College Belfast on their website here.