Four clerics hoping to become new Presbyterian Moderator
The Presbyterian Church has announced the names of the four ministers who will contest the elections next month for the Moderatorship.
The February 5 contest will determine who succeeds the Rt Reverend Charles McMullen, who steps down in June.
The candidates for the post are the Rev David Bruce, the Secretary to the Church's Council for Mission in Ireland; the Rev William Henry, of Maze Presbyterian Church; the Rev Albin Rankin, from Stormont Presbyterian Church; and the Rev Mairisine Stanfield, of First Presbyterian Church, Bangor.
Rev Bruce, who was born in 1957, was ordained in 1984 as secretary to the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship, and served as assistant minister at Wellington Street Presbyterian Church in Ballymena, and later at Clontarf, Ormond Quay and Scots Presbyterian churches in Dublin.
He later became general director of the Scripture Union in Ireland, before taking up his present post in 2007.
Rev William Henry, born in 1968, was installed as minister of Maze Presbyterian Church in 1997, and at Ballinderry Church (Stated Supply) in 2001.
He was ordained as assistant minister of Whiteabbey Presbyterian Church in 1994, and has served in several posts in the wider church, including convenor of the Home and Irish Mission/Strategy for the Mission Committee, the Union Commission and the Linkage Commission.
Rev Albin Rankin, born in 1963, has been the minister of Stormont Presbyterian Church since 2008.
He was ordained as assistant minister at High Kirk Ballymena in 1989, and has served as minister of Edenderry and Seskinore Presbyterian Churches, as well as First Ballymoney. He has been clerk of the East Belfast Presbytery since 2014.
Rev Mairisine Stanfield, born in 1965, has been minister of First Presbyterian Church in Bangor since 2013.
She was ordained in 1990 as assistant minister of Regent Street Presbyterian Church in Newtownards, and was minister in First Ballynahinch before being called to First Bangor some 20 years later.
The poll for the Moderator-elect will take place on February 5, when members of the 19 Presbyteries across Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic will vote for their chosen candidate.
The outcome is generally known later on the same evening, and in the event of a tie, another election will take place immediately.
The Moderator-elect will hold his or her first formal press conference the next morning and will be installed during the opening night of the General Assembly in June.