Northern Ireland

Presbyterian Church elects Charles McMullen as next moderator

The Reverend Charles McMullen Image copyright Presbyterian Church in Ireland
Image caption The Reverend Charles McMullen said he was "overwhelmed"

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has chosen the Reverend Charles McMullen as its next moderator following a vote on Tuesday evening.

The 57-year-old, who was born in Omagh, County Tyrone, is currently minister of West Church in Bangor, County Down.

Mr McMullen said he was "overwhelmed" by his election and was and looking forward to an "exciting, challenging and enriching year".

The Presbyterian Church chooses its moderator on an annual basis.

'Building relationships'

A total of 19 presbyteries meet independently across the island of Ireland to decide on who should hold the most senior position within the Church.

Mr McMullen was one of three nominees for the post - the others were the Reverend Brian Boyd of Kells and Eskylane and the Reverend William Henry from Maze Presbyterian Church.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Mr McMullen has been minister of West Church in Bangor since 1999

The winner secured the support of just under half the presbyteries, taking nine votes including four from the Republic of Ireland.

His fellow nominees got six votes and four votes respectively.

Mr McMullen is married with three adult children and has been minister of West Church for almost 20 years.

He has four months to prepare for his new role, as he will installed as moderator at a ceremony in June.

The moderator-designate said: "I hope I can be involved in a ministry of building relationships and offering encouragement, both within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and with others as I reach out in Christ's name."

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