A Ballymoney minister is in the running to become the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
Rev. Ian McNie, Minister of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Ballymoney, is one of four nominees in this year’s election for Moderator of the General Assembly, the most senior office bearer of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.
Meeting across Ireland next Tuesday evening (3 February) Presbyterians will elect a new Moderator from a shortlist of four ministers. The other nominees are the Rev. Robert Bell of Ballyclare Presbyterian Church, the Rev. Liz Hughes of Whitehouse Presbyterian Church in Newtownabbey and the Rev. Frank Sellar, Minister of Bloomfield Presbyterian Church in east Belfast.
Known as the Moderator-Designate, the new Moderator will officially take up office at the start of the Church’s General Assembly on 1st June and will be the 176th since the election of the Very Rev. Dr. Samuel Hanna in 1840.
Voting will take place in the Church’s 19 Presbyteries – local groupings that comprise a minister and an elder from each congregation in a particular area - meeting independently around Ireland in locations as diverse as Dublin and Londonderry, Monaghan and Carrickfergus.
While straightforward, there have been ties in the past. Last year three nominees, Rev. Michael Barry, Rev. Liz Hughes and Rev. Ian McNie, received the votes of five presbyteries each in a three-way tie. The second round of voting, that same evening, was just as close with Dr Barry elected with seven votes to the six votes Mrs Hughes and Mr McNie received each.
The next Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland should be known by 10pm on the evening of Tuesday, 3rd February. He or she will serve for one year and take up office at the opening session of the General Assembly in Belfast on the evening of Monday, 1st June.