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Rev Frank Sellar a leader with broad appeal across the whole island

By Alf McCreary

Published 03/02/2016

The margin of Rev Frank Sellar's election as the next Presbyterian moderator by 18-1 was the biggest in recent years.

Usually the votes are spread more widely, and on several occasions there has been a tie. However, the sheer scale of Rev Sellar's success across the entire island is impressive, and his period in Dublin may well have added to his broad cross-border appeal.

Until his formal installation on June 6 it is difficult to predict what direction the moderatorship of Rev Sellars will take.

But his remarks after his election last night suggest he will use his long experience in Dublin to embrace the Presbyterian Church in the Irish Republic, as well as the North, and to underline its increased vibrancy in the Republic in recent years, due to the influx of ethnic migrants, and other factors.

He received votes from right across the church, from Ards to Ballymena and from Dublin to Munster.

By contrast, Rev Robert Bell received only the vote of his own Carrickfergus Presbytery.

There will also be disappointment that Rev Tony Davidson, who has an impressive record in inter-church relations but is regarded as, perhaps, too much on the church's liberal wing, failed to receive any votes, not even from his own Armagh Presbytery.

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