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Very Rev Principal Stafford Carson


Principal and Professor of Ministry

Very Rev Principal Stafford Carson



Stafford Carson studied at the University of Ulster, (BSc and MA) Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, USA, (MAR) and Queen’s University, Belfast (MTh). He began his career as a teacher in Ballymena Technical College before pursuing theological studies and being ordained by the Presbytery of Templepatrick as Assistant Minister in High Street congregation in Antrim. He served as minister of Kells and Eskylane Presbyterian Churches (1984–91), and Carnmoney Presbyterian Church (1991–2000) before becoming Executive Vice–President at Westminster Theological Seminary (2000–05). He returned to Northern Ireland to become minister of First Presbyterian Church, Portadown (2005–2013) before being appointed as Executive Principal at Union Theological College.

Throughout his ministry, Principal Carson has maintained an active interest in theological education and has served on a number of Boards and Committees in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland which have reviewed and supervised the training of ministers. While Executive Vice–President at Westminster Seminary, he taught in the Practical Theology department and oversaw the delivery of degree programmes in Dallas, New York and London. In 2009, Principal Carson was Moderator of the General Assembly and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree by the Presbyterian Theological Faculty, Ireland. 

In the area of ministry, Principal Carson is concerned about the training and nurture of effective preachers and pastors. He has been actively involved in the creation and delivery of the Accredited Preachers’ Course for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

Principal Carson has travelled extensively as a preacher in the United States and Canada, as well as preaching and visiting churches in South Korea, Cambodia, Myanmar, Nepal, Singapore and Ethiopia. He is a member of the Theological Committee of Tearfund and has visited a number of Tearfund’s partners in Asia and Africa. He is married to Patricia and they have three grown–up children and one grandchild.