I would like to thank all those who helped in my election campaign in North Belfast and the 4,056 people who gave me their first preference votes.
I was first elected to Belfast City Council in 1989 and then to the Northern Ireland Assembly in 2003, so that is almost 28 years of service as a councillor and then MLA.
Even before I was elected in 1989 I had been involved as an activist for many years, so political, community and cultural activism have been a significant part of my life, alongside home and Christian faith.
So as well as thanking election workers and voters I want to thank my wife Mary who has been so tolerant of the many demands on my time and energies. We were married in 1974 and she has a wonderful wife for the past forty-three years.
Quite a number of people of people have asked me how I feel about the election results and I have to say that I am disappointed at the overall result. It was a very black day for Ulster and for many things that I hold dear. However today is not the day for political analysis. Instead I want to make this a very personal post.
The first verse is Romans 8:28 - all things work together for good to them that love God. That is a wonderful promise from a Sovereign God. We may not understand the how or the why of things at the time but we can rest on that promise.
The second verse is Philippians 4:11 - I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
I am therefore reflecting on what doors of opportunity there are ahead and I believe there are ways in which I can advance the causes that remain near and dear to my heart.