The Right Reverend Dr John Kirkpatrick, Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, has written on behalf of the Church to the principals of controlled schools in Northern Ireland to express his ‘heartfelt thanks’ to all staff and governors for ‘…their dedication and commitment to the education of children and young people, particularly during these challenging times.’ He also said that he would ‘continue to encourage those throughout our Presbyterian family to uphold you and your colleagues in prayer.’
In his letter, issued through the Controlled Schools Support Council, ahead of the end of term, Dr Kirkpatrick said, “On behalf of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland I wanted to extend my heartfelt thanks to you, your staff and governors for your dedication and commitment to the education of children and young people, particularly during these challenging times.
“Many schools have stepped up to host school uniform swaps, provide meals and take part in other initiatives to alleviate some of the pressures faced by pupils and their families as a result of the cost of living crisis. Please know that this significant contribution to the education and wellbeing of children and young people is not taken for granted.
“It has also been a real encouragement to be able to come together this year for nativity plays and Christmas Carol services, after a period when it was not possible to hold these events. I recognise too that such initiatives place extra demands on staff, who often work over and above the call of duty throughout the year.”
Having taken office in June of this year, Dr Kirkpatrick has visited a number of schools already, taking assemblies, engaging with P7s and Sixth Formers, while meeting teachers, principals and governors.
In October he visited Wallace High School and Pond Park Primary School in Lisburn along with Dromore High School as part of his tour of PCI’s Presbytery of Dromore. Last month when he was in another of the all-Ireland denomination’s 19 regional presbyteries, Route Presbytery, he visited Ballycastle High School, Bushmills Primary, and William Pinkerton Memorial Primary School in Dervock.
Dr Kirkpatrick concluded his letter by saying, “…it is my heartfelt prayer that during the holiday period you will be able to take some time out to rest with your friends and family, and know something of the hope and light that we, as Christian people, believe has made all the difference in the world through the birth of Jesus Christ.
“And as we approach a new year and new term I will continue to encourage those throughout our Presbyterian family to uphold you and your colleagues in prayer.”
The Moderator speaking (1) at Dromore High School’s Year 8 Assembly and (2) with Six Formers at Wallace High School in Lisburn.