For the first time in nearly a quarter of a century, a minister from a congregation in the Republic of Ireland will become Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (PCI).
Rev Dr Sam Mawhinney, the minister of Adelaide Road Presbyterian Church in Dublin was elected Moderator-Designate of the all-island denomination on Tuesday in the Church’s annual election for its principal public representative.
Brought up in Ballycastle in County Antrim, the 60 year-old father of three received the most votes from the Church’s 19 regional presbyteries when they met in various locations across Ireland. Dr Mawhinney, who has been minister of the city centre church since 2008, will be the denomination’s 178th Moderator since 1840.
He will be formally elected as Moderator by the Church’s General Assembly in June and will be the first Moderator from a congregation in the Republic of Ireland since 2000, when County Dublin minister, Rev Trevor Morrow of Lucan Presbyterian Church, was elected to lead the Church.
Dr Mawhinney qualified as a GP in 1991 and spent a year in Kenya serving as a doctor at the Presbyterian Church of East Africa’s hospital in Kikuyu. He was called to begin training for the Presbyterian Ministry at the Church’s Union Theological College in September 1992.
Speaking about his election, the Moderator-Designate said:
“I am genuinely surprised and humbled by my election this evening. It is a position I have not sought, but happily accept as God’s will for my life. While in some respects it is quite a daunting task, I know that God’s help is promised for every task we are called to and I therefore thank Him for the opportunity to serve the Church in the year ahead.”