Landslide win for Presbyterian Moderator Frank Sellar who served both sides of border
The next leader of the Presbyterian Church will be Rev Frank Sellar after the east Belfast minister won a landslide election.
Rev Sellar, who has been Minister of Bloomfield Presbyterian Church since 2007, won a massive victory with the votes of 18 of the 19 Presbyteries throughout Ireland.
Rev Sellar will take up office as Moderator at the opening night of the General Assembly on June 6 when the current Presbyterian leader - the Rt Rev Dr Ian McNie - steps down.
The runner-up was the Rev Robert Bell of Ballyclare Presbyterian Church, who received the single remaining vote, which came from his own Carrickfergus Presbytery.
Rev Tony Davidson, from First Presbyterian Church, Armagh, was the only other candidate.
He did not receive any votes.
Rev Sellar, who will be the 64th Moderator to come from Belfast and the 177th since the Very Rev Dr Samuel Hanna in 1840, has served in both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic, where he ministered at Adelaide Street in Dublin for 17 years.
Frank Sellar was born in 1958, and was educated at the Hon Irish Society School, Coleraine Academical Institution and Lancaster University before training as a teacher at Queen's University, Belfast.
He later trained for the ministry at Aberdeen University and Union Theological College in Belfast.
He served in Ballycastle and Hamilton Road Bangor Presbyterian Churches, before accepting a call to Adelaide, Dublin in 1990.
Rev Sellar returned north in 2007 and has served at Bloomfield since then.
He described his ministry as Gospel driven, "based on the Bible, passionate about people and centred in Christ".
"At Bloomfield we seek to 'Know Jesus and Share His love' and try to do that in a whole variety of ways, making available all the activities which go on in church to people of all backgrounds within the community," he said.
"Jesus is the antidote to all the bad news which is so prevalent in a broken society. Church is not for those who think that they are now 'good enough', but for people who know that they are not, but recognise their need of a Saviour who can make them whole."
Mr Sellar's wife Claire is an occupational therapist, and they have three children and a labra-doodle. His interests include current affairs, broadcasting "and the occasional bit of skiing."
Shortly after his election last night he said: "It has been a huge privilege to have been involved in a lifetime of leadership in local congregations north and south.
"I'm humbled that the wider Church has trusted me with this responsibility, granting fresh opportunities for mission, which this year as Moderator will bring, not only serving the wider Church, but society throughout Ireland and further afield."
He believes that the Presbyterian Church in Ireland should serve as a vibrant Reformed witness throughout the island that is welcoming to all, irrespective of background, culture or ethnicity.
Rev Sellar believes that Christians are not permitted to be isolationists.