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Honorary degree brings more joy for church leader Reverend David Bruce

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Rev David Bruce proudly shows off his Doctorate of Divinity

Rev David Bruce proudly shows off his Doctorate of Divinity

Dr Bruce and his wife Zoe were already celebrating the birth of their new grandson Malek on Tuesday

Dr Bruce and his wife Zoe were already celebrating the birth of their new grandson Malek on Tuesday

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Rev David Bruce proudly shows off his Doctorate of Divinity

Following the birth of his grandson, more celebrations have taken place in the household of Presbyterian Moderator-designate the Reverend David Bruce as he received an honorary degree.

Ahead of his installation as the next leader of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland on Monday, Dr Bruce (62) was presented with an honorary Doctorate of Divinity by the Presbyterian Faculty of Ireland (PTFI) on Friday.

Also honoured with an honorary Doctorate of Divinity was the Minister of First Armagh Presbyterian Church, Rev Tony Davidson.

The ceremony took place via video conference, with Dr Bruce in his doctoral robes at his home in Lisburn.

Dr Bruce and his wife Zoe were already celebrating the birth of their new grandson Malek on Tuesday.

Friday night's online service was presided over by the principal of Union Theological College (UTC), Very Rev Professor Stafford Carson.

A former Moderator himself, Rev Carson congratulated Dr Bruce on taking up the role and said: "This evening has been a special and unique occasion.

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"Special in that we honour two outstanding ministers, unique as it is the first time the service has taken place virtually."

Rev Professor Drew Gibson, professor of practical theology at the college, highlighted Dr Bruce's vision.

In a brief resume of Dr Bruce's upbringing and career, Professor Gibson said: "He has rural and urban roots, being a son of Counties Down and Armagh, but educated in Belfast.

"He has secular and sacred streams in his thinking, having a degree in business administration and accounting from Queen's University and a Bachelor of Divinity from Aberdeen University.

"He has commitments both provincial and island-wide, having ministered in Ballymena and having led Scripture Union [SU] in Northern Ireland, but also having been minister in Clontarf, Ormond Quay and Scots churches in Dublin.

"He has local and international vision. As well as leading SU in Northern Ireland, he was for five years responsible for providing guidance for the newly forming work of Scripture Union in the former Soviet states in Eastern Europe."

Professor Gibson added: "We as the Presbyterian Theological Faculty of Ireland offer to you, sir, our support and our prayers during this your moderatorial year and as a tangible expression of that support, we are very pleased to recognise both the honour of the office to which you have been called and your worthiness to fulfil the duties attendant to that office."

Meanwhile, Rev Michael McClenahan, professor of systematic theology at Union Theological College, presented Rev Tony Davidson his honorary Doctorate in Divinity.

Dr Davidson, from Dungannon, studied at Queen's University, Aberdeen University and UTC before spending 40 years in parish ministry.

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