Number of Presbyterians In Ireland Declines

Outgoing Presbyterian moderator Michael Barry. He will be replaced by Rev Dr Ian McNie of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Ballymoney, Co Antrim. (Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker)
Outgoing Presbyterian moderator Michael Barry. He will be replaced by Rev Dr Ian McNie of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Ballymoney, Co Antrim. (Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker)

Membership down almost 40% since 1975 as annual General Assembly opens in Belfast

The number of Presbyterians in Ireland has dropped by almost 40 per cent in the past 40 years – and the decline is steady and ongoing, according to latest figures from the church.

The 2015 General Assembly annual reports of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland show that, in 1975, it had a membership of approximately 375,000 across the island. Today, that figure is 230,000 in 545 congregations across its 19 presbyteries, north and south.

Between 2013 and 2014 membership dropped by 3,534, or 1,420 families, while there had also been a drop of 1,249 in those who attended at least one Communion between 2013 and 2014, and a drop of 111 in baptisms and of 19 ministers in active duty.

Meanwhile, the 2015 General Assembly gets under way today in Belfast with installation of the new Moderator Rev Dr Ian McNie of Trinity Presbyterian Church in Ballymoney, Co Antrim.

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SOURCE: Irish Times
Patsy McGarry

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