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Presbyterians opt for conservative Ian McNie as new Moderator

The new Moderator of the Presbyterian Church will be the Reverend Ian McNie.

The Ballymoney minister will take over from the current Moderator Dr Michael Barry at the Opening Night of the General Assembly in June.

Mr McNie was nominated by 12 of the 19 Presbyteries throughout Ireland.

The runner-up, with four votes, was the Rev Liz Hughes from Whitehouse in north Belfast. The Rev Frank Sellar was given two nominations and the Rev Robert Bell had one.

Last year Rev McNie and Rev Hughes tied for second place, and there will be keen disappointment from women that the Presbyterian Church has yet again failed to elect a female to its top post.

Rev McNie, who is 64, describes himself as a "conservative evangelical", and says that he sees his work as substantially that of a parish minister within his congregation and in the Ballymoney area.

Shortly after his election he said: "As a conservative evangelical I recognise that we are living in the 21st century, and therefore seek to steer the congregation in such a way that we do not cling to the traditions of the past, but seek to be relevant today.

"At the same time, I recognise that the truth of the Gospel has not changed, and we should not allow society to pressure us into departing from the core values of the Scriptures."

He added: "I am greatly humbled that so many of my colleagues in the ministry, and many ruling elders within the various presbyteries, have felt that they could entrust me with this important responsibility within the church."

Rev McNie is married with two sons, one of whom is also a Presbyterian minister.

As a teenager, Ian McNie wanted to become a teacher but he felt a call to the ministry, and attended Union Theological College in Belfast.

Rev McNie will be seen as a typical conservative.

He said: "Throughout my ministry I have sought to preach the Gospel with clarity and conviction, in such a way that people will be moved by God's spirit to make a positive response to becoming Christians."

His Ballymoney Church works with youth organisations, holds weekly services in care homes and sends teams to Malawi in support of local missionaries.

Belfast Telegraph