Presbyterians elect Belfast minister as next Moderator

Rev Frank Sellar served as minister on both sides of Border


The Rev Frank Sellar of Bloomfield Presbyterian Church in east Belfast has been elected to be the next Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

The 57-year-old minister was nominated by 18 of the 19 presbyteries across Ireland to succeed the current Moderator, the Rev Ian McNie. He will be formally installed as the new Moderator at the Presbyterian general assembly in June.

Mr Sellar, who has ministered on both sides of the Border, is the 177th Irish Presbyterian moderator since the election of Rev Dr Samuel Hanna in 1840.

The other two candidates were the Rev Robert Bell of Ballyclare Presbyterian Church in Co Antrim who received the support of Carrickfergus presbytery and the Rev Tony Davidson of First Armagh Presbyterian Church.

A native of Coleraine, Co Derry and father of three children Mr Sellar is married to Claire, an occupational therapist.

Mr Sellar said tonight that he was looking forward to his year as Moderator especially as it coincided with the general assembly theme for 2016 which is “a community of global concern”.

“Christians are never permitted to be isolationists,” said Mr Sellar after his election Tuesday evening.

“We are called to learn from and share with our brothers and sisters in the worldwide church, participating with them in the urgent task of world evangelism, stewardship of the earth’s resources and challenging injustice, poverty and oppression in Jesus’ name,” he added.

Graduated with honours

After completing his honours BA degree at Lancaster University in geography and art in 1979, Mr. Sellar trained to be a teacher at Queen’s University, Belfast. He joined the staff of the Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship in 1980 and served students for three years in the Republic before training for the Presbyterian ministry at Aberdeen University where he graduated with an honours BD in systematic theology and church history in 1986. He completed a Masters of Ministry degree from the Presbyterian Theological Faculty Ireland in 2013.

For 17 years from 1999 he was a minister in Adelaide Road Presbyterian Church in Dublin. In 2007 the Sellars moved to Bloomfield Presbyterian Church, a congregation of nearly 500 families.

Mr Sellar described his ministry as gospel driven based on the Bible, people and “centred in Christ”.

“Jesus is the antidote to all the bad news which is so prevalent in a broken society,” he added. “Church is not for those who think that they are now ‘good enough’, but for people who know that they are not, but recognise their need of a Saviour who can make them whole.”

Mr Sellar said that as well as family life he enjoyed walking his labradoodle on the north coast, current affairs, broadcasting and occasional skiing.