Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Well-wishers mark Ian Paisley's retirement from the pulpit

The Rev Ian Paisley
The Rev Ian Paisley
Former DUP leader Ian Paisley reacts to questioning from the media outside Castle Buildings
Lord Bannside: Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley, as a 12-year-old schoolboy
Ian Paisley and his wife Eileen on wedding their day.
Unionist protests at visit to Belfast of Charles Haughey, former Taoiseach. Pictured Rev Ian Paisley. 11/4/1990.
Ian Paisley confronts an RUC officer when refused access to Duke Street where the Civil Rights parade went on. 10/10/1988
First protest march to Belfast city centre. A crowd pictured at a meeting with Ian Paisley at Shaftesbury Square, Belfast. 9/10/1968.
First protest march to Belfast city centre. A crowd of students pictured at a meeting with Ian Paisley near Belfast City Hall. Pictured is Ciaran McKeown(with beard). 9/10/1968.
Ian Paisley at the scene of the IRA motar attack on Newry Police Station. which killed 9 officers. 28/2/1985.
Former DUP leader Ian Paisley
Hundreds of thousands of Unionists crowded Belfast City Centre in a huge "Ulster Says No" rally against power sharing after a call by the Rev Ian Paisley and other Unionist leaders of the time. Picture by Photopress
Ian Paisley at DUP HQ in 1985. The party leader held a sledge hammer to depict his 'smash Sinn Fein' message
Former DUP leader Ian Paisley wearing the traditional red beret of paramilitary group the Ulster Resistance in Ulster Hall
Ian Paisley leaves Crumlin Road jail in the 60s
Ian Paisley at a protest rally at Carrickfergus Castle in 1971
Ian Paisley demonstrates at Stormont in 1981
Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley attends the opening of the New Victoria Shopping complex in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Wednesday, March 5, 2008.
Ian Paisley after meeting with the General John De Chastelain in 2004
Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley
Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams side by side during a historic Stormont meeting in 2007
Ian Paisley with Prince Charles
Ian Paisley holds a rabbit at the Balmoral Show, Kings Hall, Belfast
Ian Paisley
The Reverend Ian Paisley speaking at a ceremony held at Stormont to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the death of Edward Carson. October 1985
Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness after being sworn in as ministers of the Northern Ireland Assembley, Stormont. May 8, 2007.
The Queen greeted by First Minister Ian Paisley in east Belfast
Ian Paisley
First Minister Dr Ian Paisley and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness take a break during the opening
Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness show Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond how to play a Lambeg Drum
Martin McGuiness, left, Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister, and Ian Paisley, right, First Minister, react after ringinging the opening bell at the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York, Wednesday Dec. 5, 2007
New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, right, greets Northern Ireland First Deputy Minister Martin McGuiness, left, as Northern Ireland Bureau director Norman Houston, second from left, and Irish First Minister Ian Paisley look on during a luncheon sponsored by the Northern Ireland Bureau in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2007
Northern Ireland's First Minister Ian Paisley, left, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness, right, and AVX Corporation CEO and President John S. Gillbertson pose at a luncheon hosted by the Northern Ireland Bureau in New York, Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2007
Pictured from left to right, Kieran McLoughlin, president of the American Ireland Fund, Loretta Brennan Glucksman, chairman of the American Ireland Fund, the two leaders of Northern Ireland's newly devolved government, Deputy First Minister Martin McGuiness, First Minister Dr. Ian Paisley, Junior Minister Ian Paisley Jr., Duncan L. Niederauer, CEO of the NYSE Euronext, and Nigel Dodds, MP MLA, Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, during a photo opportunity at the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Dec 3, 2007 in New York.
Loretta Brennan Glucksman, left, chairman of The American Ireland Fund, and Junior Minister Ian Paisley Jr., right, join the two leaders of Northern Ireland's newly devolved government, First Minister Dr. Ian Paisley, center right, and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, center left, as they hold the gavel for a photo opportunity at the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Dec., 3, 2007
First Minister Dr. Ian Paisley, right, and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, left, speak to the media as they depart the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Dec., 3, 2007.
Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., right, greets Northern Ireland's leaders Ian Paisley, left, and Martin McGuinness, center, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2007, on Capitol Hill in Washington

Belfast Telegraph Ulster Fry Breakfast event at Labour conference, Bournemouth, 25 Sep 07. Left to right:Barbara Roulston (Royal Mail Group), Ian Paisley (First Minister NI), Martin Lindsay (Belfast Telegraph Editor)

Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, smiles as he waits for the results of the Northern Ireland elections at Ballymena, Northern Ireland, Thursday, March, 8, 2007
Ian Paisley, leader of the Democratic Unionist Party, gestures as he waits for the results of the Northern Ireland elections at Ballymena, Northern Ireland, Thursday, March, 8, 2007.
Ian Paisley is handed a three hundred year old musket by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern during their visit to the historic Battle of the Boyne site in Co Meath in May 2007
Ian Paisley (right), the former Northern Ireland first minister, with his son Ian Paisley Jnr (left) after his father took his seat in the House of Lords as Lord Bannside
Ian Paisley (left), the former Northern Ireland first minister, with his son Ian Paisley Jnr (rght) after his father took his seat in the House of Lords today as Lord Bannside
Former Northern Ireland First Minister Ian Paisley holding his first great grandchild Caleb Cassells
Ian Paisley gets a kiss for luck from his wife Eileen at the 2007 Stormont Assembly Election count

For the man who has had more farewells than Frank Sinatra, the Reverend Ian Paisley last night marked his retirement from the pulpit.

The 85-year-old former DUP leader, North Antrim MP and Northern Ireland First Minister has already taken a back seat in the political arena.

Last night 2,500 people attended a special service at the Martyrs Memorial Free Presbyterian Church on the Ravenhill Road in Belfast to mark his farewell after more than 60 years as a pastor and church moderator.

Guests at the service included Stormont Health Minister Edwin Poots and DUP MP William McCrea, who sang a solo. Ian Paisley's wife, Eileen, their five children, ten grandchildren and two great grandchildren also attended.

Tributes were paid by the Reverend Dr John Douglas and his son, the Reverend Kyle Paisley.

Speaking before the service, Dr Paisley, now known as Lord Bannside, said: "I am exceedingly happy that I've had the privilege of being the preacher here for 65 years, and that's a long time.

"We have seen a miraculous work done, and we have seen a great change in our city in many ways. We've seen a change spiritually by people having respect for the bible."

The former DUP leader set up the Free Presbyterian Church in 1951 after a split with the main Presbyterian Church and gave his last sermon before a packed church in December. He retired as DUP leader in 2008 and was succeeded by Peter Robinson, Northern Ireland's current first minister.

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