Orange Order: Mervyn Gibson elected new grand secretary
Mervyn Gibson has been elected as the new grand secretary of the Orange Order.
Rev Gibson, 58, will work alongside Grand Master Edward Stevenson and Deputy Grand Master Harold Henning at the head of the Institution, who were also both re-elected at the Grand Lodge meeting in Eglinton.
The Belfast Orangeman, and Presbyterian minister, succeeds the late Drew Nelson in the senior role.
The Dromore solicitor passed away earlier this year following illness.
A special memorial service was held during the Eglinton meeting in memory of Mr Nelson.
Speaking after his election, Rev Gibson said: "I am extremely honoured to be elected the Grand Secretary by my fellow brethren at Grand Lodge, but humbled to be following in the footsteps of those who have served in the post previously.
"Words are inadequate to describe the dedication and commitment of my predecessor the late Drew Nelson. His legacy and influence will live long within our ranks.
"I think of two family friends John McCrea and the late Walter Williams who also previously held the post, serving the Institution faithfully. I am looking forward to following in their footsteps and serving the Orange Institution as they did."
Mr Stevenson said: "On behalf of our entire membership, I would like to congratulate Mervyn on his election to office.
"He is a man of great faith and integrity, who voices the strong Christian principles of the Order, and has worked tirelessly with numerous stakeholders in Belfast to promote the Orange cause. As a former Grand Chaplain and Assistant Grand Master, Mervyn is well placed and will bring great experience in furthering the ideals of the Orange Institution.
"It is also appropriate at this time to pay tribute to the contribution of Mervyn’s predecessor, Drew Nelson, who played a pivotal role in the ongoing development of the Institution for more than a decade as Grand Secretary.”
The Grand Master added: “I have absolutely no doubt Mervyn will bring great expertise and enthusiasm to his new role, and will be a strong advocate for Orangeism."