Presbyterians set to choose one of three nominees as new Moderator
Three men will contest the election next month to be the next Moderator of the Presbyterian Church, in succession to Dr Noble McNeely.
The nominees are Rev Brian Boyd, Rev William John Henry, and Rev Charles McMullen.
Significantly there are no women candidates for this year’s moderatorial election, and the Presbyterian Church is the only mainstream Reformed Church in Ireland not to have elected a female leader so far.
The election will take place on Tuesday, February 6, when members of the 19 Presbyteries throughout the Church in Ireland will vote for one of the three candidates.
The first past the post will be the winner, and in the event of a tie, the Presbyteries will continue to vote that evening until a clear winner is declared.
The last time a tie occurred was in 2014.
The Moderator-Designate will be formally installed by the Presbyterian Church at large during the opening night of the General Assembly in June.
Presbyterians almost got their first female leader in 2014 when Rev Dr Elizabeth Hughes allowed her name to go forward for the post.
Unexpectedly, she was runner-up with Rev Ian McKie from Ballymoney. They were only one vote behind the successful candidate, Rev Michael Barry from Newry.
Dr Hughes allowed her name to go forward for the next year, but she was not elected.
She retired on January 31 last year after 17 years as minister of Whitehouse Presbyterian Church.
All three candidates this year have wide experience.
Rev Brian Boyd has been minister of Kells and Eskylane in Co Antrim since 1992.
He was born in 1959, ordained in 1986, and installed in 1988 as minister of Culnady and Swatragh. He was Convenor of the Alcohol and Drug Education Committee from 1997-200.
Rev William J Henry was born in 1968, and installed in Maze Presbyterian Church in 1997, and later with Ballinderry (Stated Supply) in 2001.
Rev Henry is Convenor of the Linkage Commission, formerly the Union Commission, and formerly convenor of the Home and Irish Mission/Strategy Committee.
Rev Charles McMullen, who was born in 1960, was installed in Legacurry in 1991, and has been minister of West Church Bangor since 1999.
The Co Down minister was convenor of the Magee Fund Scheme Committee, of the National and International Problems Committee and the Global Concerns Committee.