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Former Presbyterian Moderator Dr Sam Hutchison passes away at the age of 84

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Former Presbyterian Moderator Very Rev Dr Sam Hutchinson

Former Presbyterian Moderator Very Rev Dr Sam Hutchinson

Former Presbyterian Moderator Very Rev Dr Sam Hutchinson

The Very Reverend Dr Samuel Hutchinson, a former Presbyterian Moderator, has died after a short illness. He was 84.

He was born in Belfast in 1937, later studying at Queen’s University, Belfast where he graduated with a BA in Classics. After attending the Assembly’s College he was licensed by the South Belfast Presbytery and ordained in 1963 in Oldpark Presbyterian Church, where he served as assistant minister for three years.

From 1966, he was minister at Gilford and Clare congregations before becoming Deputy Clerk of the General Assembly in 1985. He became Clerk of the General Assembly and served from 1990 until his retirement in 2003. He was Moderator of the General Assembly from 1997-98.

In all these and his many other appointments he was known for his sound judgment and ready helpfulness, and as a man of great warmth, geniality and approachability, while retaining widespread respect due to his progressive seniority and considerable ability.

Former Moderator, the Very Rev John Dunlop, said last night: “Dr Hutchinson was Moderator of the General Assembly in the year of the Good Friday-Belfast Agreement which was a year of complexity and hope, when politicians needed encouragement to reach a political accommodation across fractures of bitterness, misunderstanding and hurt.

“For 13 years he was a skilful, careful and discreet Clerk of the General Assembly, a man with a compassionate spirit, combined with a wide knowledge of the law and traditions of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, which he loved. Dr Hutchinson was above partisanship, he was in no-one’s pocket and he was a quiet encourager of consensus.

“He served the Church on many of its local committees and international ecumenical bodies, including being secretary to the leaders of the four largest churches in Ireland.”

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Dr Hutchinson is survived by his wife Margaret. A service of thanksgiving is scheduled for Railway Street Presbyterian Church in Lisburn today, where the main tribute is being given by Dr Dunlop.


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