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Presbyterian Church in Ireland
Presbyterian Church in Ireland
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Presbyterian Church in Ireland names new moderator

by Tola Mbakwe

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has announced who will be its new moderator.

Rev David Bruce, Secretary to the Church's Council for Mission in Ireland, has been nominated for the position.

He was one of four nominees for the Church to choose from this year, which traditionally elects the Moderator-Designate on the first Tuesday in February

The 62-year-old received the most votes from the Church's 19 presbyteries.

Speaking about his election, Rev Bruce said it's a huge honour.

"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.

Rev Bruce has spent many years helping the Church to engage effectively in mission through managing and directing organisations.

These have included Scripture Union, both in Northern Ireland and in the former Soviet republics, and the Council for Mission in Ireland.

Thinking about his forthcoming year in office, Mr Bruce said that he was looking forward to visiting presbyteries, congregations and projects at home and overseas.

"The Church is like God's Family. We are different and don't always agree, but when we love each other, like God has loved us in Christ, our common belonging to him holds us together," he said.

"As Christians we are called to demonstrate Jesus' love for people, which means putting our faith into practical action and simple Christian caring, which is a powerful social witness of the gospel. I am really looking forward to getting out and about and seeing the amazing work that is being done quietly and compassionately by our congregations across Ireland and encouraging our people as they serve the community in the name of Jesus."

He added that the Church "faces the challenges of secularisation and a corresponding drift away from organised religion" and that should help the Church to "sharpen the focus" of its message to others.

Rev Bruce will be officially nominated to this year's General Assembly on 1st June when he will succeed the current Moderator, Rt Rev Dr William Henry.

Dr Henry will continue in office as the Presbyterian Church in Ireland's principal public representative until then.

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