Rev David Bruce has been selected as the Presbyterian Church in Ireland's next Moderator.
The current secretary to the church's Council for Mission in Ireland was one of four nominees for the post, which was decided by the church's 19 presbyteries on Tuesday evening.
Garnering a total of 14 votes, the Banbridge-born 62-year-old will be the denomination’s 175th Moderator since 1840 and the first in over 20 years to come from a position outside of parish ministry.
Mr Bruce lives near Lisburn and worships at Elmwood Presbyterian Church on the outskirts of the city.
Speaking following his election, Mr Bruce said he was "hugely honoured" to be selected for the role.
"I will approach the role with prayerful excitement as we face the great task of commending christ to Ireland, north and south in a year of major change on this island and beyond," he said.
“With the UK having left the European Union last week and we enter this transition phase, a new set of political relationships will be formed, both on this island and beyond. As members of an all-Ireland church we will remain fully committed to our people and their witness on both sides of the Irish border.
“The formation of the Northern Ireland Executive in Stormont, and Ireland’s General Election this week indicate the importance of careful conversations with politicians, something I will be keen to continue during my year in office.”
Alongside Mr Bruce, this year's nominees were Rev Dr Trevor McCormick, who received one vote, Rev Richard Murray, who received three votes and Rev Mairisíne Stanfield, who received one vote.
Mr Bruce will officially be elected and installed as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland on June 1.