No snow forecast

I noted previously that Dr. Paisley had remained in post due to the snow cancelling a previous attempt by the Free Presbyterian Church to elect a new moderator. The weather forecast for Dungannon (where the meeting is due to be held tonight) appears to be wet but quite mild.The BBC and Belfast Telegraph have both suggested Rev Ron Johnston from Armagh will be the next moderator.

Whoever wins it seems very likely that the church will have a lower public profile; it is possible that many outside the fundamentalist community will soon have largely forgotten it though there are still events where it will be likely to try to make its views known, an example being a protest during any possible visit by the pope to Northern Ireland (exactly how that will go down with at least one of the ‘Chuckle Brothers’ is unclear).

As I have suggested before many Free Presbyterians are very likely to welcome their church being known for fundamentalist Protestantism rather than its perceived party political affiliations. This is the position already held by other fundamentalist denominations such as the Brethren, Independent Methodists and Reformed Presbyterians and is a position recently advocated by one of the umbrella fundamentalist groups the Evangelical Protestant Society which incidentally is also opposing any papal visit.

Hence, whilst the Free Presbyterian church may fade somewhat from general consciousness, it is unlikely to have (to quote a famous saying) gone away you know and will presumably reappear betimes.

The BBC is reporting that Rev. Ron Johnston from Armagh FPC has been elected the new moderator.

  • Bla

    Never mind that. What is TUV’s response to one of its councillors being convicted of drink-driving and banned for a year. Family values indeed…..

  • Sam Hanna

    The TUV is not the FPC so please keep your comments for another thread.

    The whole future for the FPC is at stake in this election. If they chose Ron Johnstone, who is well known for being wishy washy, then they can kiss any future impact goodbye. With someone like John Greer,they may have a future.

    Paisley is despised by most members of the FPC and the sooner he and his awful family clear off with their 5 remaining members of his church the better. He has achieved nothing for the last 25 years save for to destroy his Martyrs congregation and promote the commercial and political ambitions of “team Paisley.” Most FPC I know have thrown out his books and sermons and I am told that if he dared to put himself up for Moderator again he would be beaten by a much larger majority than last time.

    It is interesting today that the Belfast Telegraph is still spinning that FPC Presbytery members voted Paisley out because of a feeling that the too jobs were too much for him. That kind of journalistic logic shows how out of touch they are with reality as this never stopped Paisley for the last 50 years. The only media outlet to accurately report the hostile mood and animosity towards Senior Chuckie was the Newsletter. One FPC minister told me that the Newsletter know exactly everything that now goes on in the FPC Presbytery.

    Whether or not readers here on Slugger agree with the views of the FPC, it is axiomatic that Paisley for personal benefit alone has betrayed everything they held dear.

  • Sam Hanna

    “Mr Paisley – who founded the Church in 1951 – indicated last September that he would stand down in January following mounting concern over his dual role as Moderator and Stormont First Minister. It is thought he stood down to avoid a vote which would reveal divisions in the ranks over his role as Moderator and First Minister. This concern among some members may have been due to the workload facing Mr Paisley, but it may also have reflected concern among others at his decision to share power with Sinn Fein.”


  • Fraggle

    What a disgrace. Bans for drink-driving should be much longer IMO.

  • joeCanuck

    Stop teasing us, Sam. What was the real reason?

  • Lenny

    Perhaps Big Ian should join Tony and convert to catholicism.

  • cut the bull

    Im sure the big lad has’nt lost all hope of re election to the post that he has held for so long.

    He may be thinking along these lines,

    There may be miracles if you believe

    Many nights I’ve prayed
    with my voice all of Ulster could hear
    In my heart a hopeful song
    I barely understood
    I’m never, never, never afraid
    Although I know there’s much to fear
    I’m for ever moving mountains
    Long before I knew I could

    There can be miracles
    When you believe
    Though hope is frail
    It’s hard to kill
    Who knows what miracles
    you can achieve
    Marty and Gerry swear they got power sharing, cos they believe
    Somehow you will, Now you will
    you will because you believe

    In this time of fear
    When prayer so often proves in vain
    Hope left me with a couple of jail birds
    They have’nt gone away you know
    Yet now I’m standing here
    My heart’s so full, I can’t explain
    Seeking faith and speaking words
    I never thought I’d say, oh
    Caide mar ata sibh Marty agus Gerry ,mo chairde mor

    So in times when all my hope is gone
    I’ll never, never, never go through life afraid
    In my heart there lies a hopeful song
    That is there to guide the way
    And all the hurt and all the pain
    I’ve learned was not in vain
    For all my prayers, they will be heard
    They’ll come to pass through faith

    There can be miracles
    When you believe
    Though hope is frail
    It’s hard to kill
    Who knows what miracles
    you can achieve
    Marty and Gerry swear they got power sharing, cos they believe
    Somehow you will, Now you will
    you will because you believe

  • Chuckle Vision


    I hope he wasn’t coming from Paul Stewart’s premises.

  • martin

    what i cannot understand is that if his actions in forming an unequal yoke makes him unfit for office of moderator how he can remain a minister in good standing within the denomination. Same goes for wailing Willy McCrea and as regards elders – Storey, Simpson and Morrow

    FPC has lost its way and failure to purge itself will result in the demonination continue to shrink. In 10 years the congregtions of some small works will be in single figures

  • Belfast Dissenter

    I have known Ron Johnston for many years from the time he worked as an assistant in the old Bethel bookshop at the corner of Frederick Street and York Street. He later went off for several years as a missionary in Papua/New Guinea. I have always found him to be a Chistian gentleman and I’m sure that he will be a fair and effective moderator for the FPC.

  • Comrade Stalin


    What part of the Belfast Telegraph report is inaccurate ?

    It’s notable that the FPC congregation didn’t move against Paisley over Ulster Resistance, the Third Force, or the 1977 strike. And they didn’t move against McCrea when he appeared on a podium with Billy Wright. But as soon as government with Sinn Fein is involved, suddenly they’re opposed to that sort of thing.

  • Sam Hanna

    The wholly inaccurate piece that Paisley was removed because he was too busy doing two jobs.

    The majority of the Presbytery were opposed to his love in with Martin – THat and that alone was the reason. Anyone can see with his gritted teeth acting last night that he hated being removed!

  • joeCanuck

    Thanks for the explanation at last, Sam.

  • Bigger Picture


    You need to take a real good look at yourself. For a person who supposedly comes on here as a Christian and a FP you do yourself and the name of the FPC no service by putting out such bile against a member of your church. You’re totally entitled to your opinion but as a Christian your attitude to members of your own church stink and is hardly a great testimony. I am glad I don’t go to one but I am sure that after reading your rant many others on this site feel the same as well.

  • interested

    Sam Hanna
    Like most of the anti-Paisley/TUV/holier than thou brigade there is little expression of any Christianity in your posts.

  • white van man

    well said interested,

    i have to say the witness paisley has shown in the last few months has done more to make christianity more appealing than anyhting the likes of sam hanna and the TUV crew will ever do.

    but then my fear is that TUV and co have no desire to reach the lost, just revel in spite, bile and vengeance

  • Billy


    Well said.

    People like Sam Hanna rant on about Paisley being removed because of his “love-in” with Sinn Fein.

    While I may not agree with this, I could respect it if the FPC had maintained a consistent approach to ALL terrorism.

    However, as Comrade Stalin has already pointed out, they had no problem when Paisley and many other leading FPC figures were actively involved with “loyalist” paramilitaries, the UWC strike, the 3rd force etc. Indeed, the “Rev” William McCrea was only too pleased to stand up on a public platform and defend one of the most brutal sectarian terrorists ever to darken NI – not a word from the FPC.

    The views of such people have, in my opinion, little association with Christianity. They do, however, have an awful lot in common with hypocrisy.

  • Dewi