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Ballysillan minister is elected Moderator

The Reverend Norman Hamilton, who is well-known for his community relations work in north Belfast, has been elected as the next Moderator of the Presbyterian Church.

He will succeed the current Moderator, the Rt Revd Dr Stafford Carson, who relinquishes office on the opening night of the General Assembly on June 7.

He defeated Rev Norman McAuley by 11 votes to eight in a second election yesterday, after both men tied 5-5 in the first election last month. Voting took place across the 19 Presbyteries throughout Ireland.

Mr Hamilton, who is noted for his plain speaking and his media skills, is a respected figure across the liberal and conservative wings of the Presbyterian Church.

He said last night: “I am greatly humbled and surprised that this has come to me. I hope during my year of office to bring a very Biblical perspective to a wide range of issues that are important to both Church and society.”

Mr Hamilton, who is well-known for his social involvement in the Ballysillan area of north Belfast, believes that there should be a “proper” place for the Church in community life.

He said: “The Church needs to rediscover its place in civic society so that it plays an active and valued part for the benefit of all in our communities rather than just being one element among many looking after their own interests.”

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