Drumreagh minister is elected as Moderator-Designate of Presbyterian Church in Ireland

Rev Richard Murray, the minister of Drumreagh Presbyterian Church will become the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s (PCI) next Moderator.
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He was elected Moderator-Designate on February 6 in the Church’s annual election for its principal public representative.

Brought up in Belfast, the 58-year-old received the most votes from the Church’s 19 presbyteries when they met in various locations across Ireland.

Speaking about his election, Mr Murray said: “I feel humbled to be called to this office, yet also privileged, and with God’s help, I will endeavour to represent the Church and the Lord to the best of my ability. My desire is to be committed to the Word of God in everything and my request is that people remember me in prayer throughout my year in office.”

Rev Richard Murray of Drumreagh Presbyterian Church, who was elected Moderator-Designate of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland on February 6. He will succeed Dr Sam Mawhinney as PCI's new Moderator at the Church's June General Assembly. Credit PCIRev Richard Murray of Drumreagh Presbyterian Church, who was elected Moderator-Designate of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland on February 6. He will succeed Dr Sam Mawhinney as PCI's new Moderator at the Church's June General Assembly. Credit PCI
Rev Richard Murray of Drumreagh Presbyterian Church, who was elected Moderator-Designate of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland on February 6. He will succeed Dr Sam Mawhinney as PCI's new Moderator at the Church's June General Assembly. Credit PCI

As a boy, Mr Murray attended Suffolk Primary School in Belfast and Suffolk Presbyterian Church. Due to The Troubles, the family moved to Finaghy on the outskirts of the city, becoming members of Lowe Memorial Presbyterian Church, which he considers his ‘home church’.

Having attended Wallace High School in Lisburn, he started his first full-time job with Arthur Guinness & Co. in Belfast as a distribution clerk, where he worked for three years before moving to Ulster Bank in Lisburn, where he was a clerk. In 1989 he went to Queen’s University, Belfast, where he graduated in 1992 with a BA in Ancient History and Social and Economic History.

PCI’s Union Theological College beckoned and in 1995 he gained his Batchelor of Divinity, the same year that he was licensed as a minister of the gospel in Lowe Memorial. He then served as assistant minister in Terrace Row Presbyterian in Coleraine for three years before moving to Hilltown and Clonduff Presbyterian Churches, near Rathfriland in County Down, where he was ordained in 1997.

In 2005 Mr Murray was called to Connor Presbyterian Church near Ballymena, where he served as minister for eleven years. He became minister of Drumreagh and Dromore Presbyterian Churches, a joint charge, in 2016 with Dromore Presbyterian amalgamating with Drumreagh last year.

Today he ministers to around 360 families in the rural Drumreagh congregation totalling around 850 people. “We are in the country and surrounded by countryside, although Drumreagh has the village of Bendooragh nearby and is only two miles from Ballymoney. We seek to make an impact through living out the gospel in workplaces, schools, neighbourhoods and sports fields.

“We also have Sunday School, PW, youth club, Parents & Tots, BB and GB as well as other organisations. We have a friendly evangelical ethos and seek to welcome all people in the understanding that sheep without a shepherd are sought by God,” Mr Murray said.

When he is not in the pulpit, or visiting members of his congregation, Mr Murray serves on the Northern Ireland Committee of the missionary organisation the Middle East Reformed Fellowship, and has taught for a term at their facility in Lokichoggio in Kenya. He enjoys reading historical biographies and along with his wife Lynn, a Coleraine GP, they are 'compulsive walkers” and like to relax with long walks at the seaside. Their son Andrew runs his own AV business, who along with his wife, is a member of Abbot’s Cross Presbyterian Church.