The Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Cllr Maureen Morrow, has hosted a reception for the outgoing Presbyterian Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, the Rt. Reverend Dr William Henry, during a visit to the historic Carrickfergus Presbytery.

Earlier this week, Dr Henry’s successor, who will take up his post in June, was announced as Co Down-born Rev. David Bruce.

Carrickfergus Presbytery is the longest established of the Church’s presbyteries, with Ballycarry Presbyterian, one of its 20 congregations, being the oldest in Ireland with origins dating back to 1613.

At a reception hosted in Larne Town Hall, Cllr Morrow extended a warm welcome to the Rev. Dr Henry.

The Mayor said: “I am delighted that the Rt. Rev. Dr Henry is able to join us here today, bringing the encouragement and greetings of the General Assembly to the Carrickfergus Presbytery within our borough.

“Council recognises the valuable contribution our churches make within our local communities and the important role they have in local community development, good relations and peacebuilding, providing support and compassion to those in need.

“Indeed, our churches are vitally important as key partners to the Council as we deliver Mid and East Antrim’s Community Plan – Putting People First.

“This plan aspires to the vision that Mid and East Antrim is a strong, vibrant, safe and inclusive community, where people work together to improve the quality of life for all. Council wants ­everyone who lives, works and socialises in our borough, to feel welcome, safe, respected and celebrated, therefore the support provided by our churches, including those within the Carrickfergus Presbytery, is significant and important to us as we continue to ‘Work Together to Create a Better Future for All’.”