Page last updated at 07:38 GMT, Wednesday, 4 February 2009

New church moderator is announced

Rev Stafford Carson
Rev Stafford Carson takes up office in June

Rev Stafford Carson will be the next moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, it has been announced.

The 57-year-old is currently minister of First Portadown Presbyterian Church in County Armagh.

He was elected after voting across Ireland on Tuesday and it is anticipated that he will take up office in June.

"I hope I can be a real encourager to the church and help it through what are really difficult times," he said.

"But yet in the midst of all this to remain confident and be confident in the gospel, and continue to speak and live the gospel in a way which is real and relevant."

Rev Carson said that he will not reopen the debate on the ordination of women.

"There's a minority within the Presbyterian Church who have not been persuaded about the rectitude of the ordination of women and I am among that minority," he said.

"We have had really a truce on the issue for all my ministry in the church.

"The church ordains women and those of us who have a conscience about that, we don't frustrate or stand in the way of the church in doing that."

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