Moderator heartened by his church’s health

Rt Rev Dr Frank Sellar (Moderator of the General Assembly) pictured officially opening Moira Presbyterian Church on Friday 21st April.
Rt Rev Dr Frank Sellar (Moderator of the General Assembly) pictured officially opening Moira Presbyterian Church on Friday 21st April.

Presbyterian Moderator the Rev Dr Frank Seller, as he enters his last full week in office, before the Church’s General Assembly opens on June 5, says the past year provided him with much opportunity to serve.

Dr Seller said he was “greatly heartened” to find a church not in retreat, but a gracious and humble partner in the advancement of “God’s Kingdom” across Ireland.

The outgoing moderator, who will be replaced by First Holywood minister the Rev Dr Noble McNeely, preached in all of the church’s 19 presbyteries across Ireland. He visited congregations, took part in numerous projects and carried out various engagements across 20 counties.

Dr Sellar described the year as “non-stop”, but “a privilege”.

“Throughout the year my wife Claire and I prayed that God would guide us and we would be sensitive to the prompting of His Holy Spirit. He was ever faithful and we found divine opportunities from Kathmandu to Kells in Co Meath and from Carrigart in Co Donegal to Cloughwater in North Antrim. I was privileged to be allowed into people’s lives, and members of the church, ministering in ordinary contexts and working in Christ’s name.”

Dr Sellar also spoke of “moving memories”, having taken part in the centenary commemorations of the Battle of the Somme in France last July, and meeting members of the Irish Naval Forces in Co Cork during December, after they had rescued more than 15,000 refugees from the Mediterranean Sea.

He said it was the three presbytery tours that provided some of his abiding memories and invaluable insights into the diversity of what local congregations are doing on the ground. From working with young people and children with special needs, to supporting people to get out of debt through ‘Christians Against Poverty’ and partnering with others to establish food banks.

“I also saw a similar demonstration of Christ’s love in Nepal, witnessing again how God strategically placed people, like the church’s overseas mission personnel, in the right place at the right time.”

Dr Sellar also explained that he had been affected by the “real life-changing benefit” that the last Moderator’s Appeal had brought to people in Nepal, after the 2015 earthquakes, especially seeing first hand the physical connection between what had been sacrificially given at home and the blessing that had flowed from it in Nepal.

Summarising his year, Dr Sellar said: “My wife and I are greatly heartened by what we have found on our travels. Ours is not a church in retreat, but a gracious and humble partner in advancement of God’s Kingdom across Ireland. The abiding delight has been meeting with God’s people, living, ministering and working in Christ’s name in the countryside, towns and cities of this island – and further afield - joyfully serving. This has been our greatest privilege.”

Dr Sellar will share his reflections in his final address as moderator on the opening night of the church’s General Assembly in Belfast on Monday, June 5. The Assembly continues until over four days.