The Presbyterian Church in Ireland has selected Rev William Henry as the new moderator.
The 50-year old, who is minister of Maze Presbyterian Church in County Antrim, will become the youngest moderator in living memory.
The father of three was nominated by 11 of the Church’s 19 presbyteries on Tuesday, when they met across Ireland to elect a successor to the current Moderator, Rt Rev Dr Charles McMullen.
Mr Henry will be formally elected Moderator by the Church’s General Assembly in June.
Until then he will be known as the Moderator-Designate.
He said he was "deeply honoured" and the experience of "enjoying God" could become his theme for the year ahead.
Reacting to the news Mr Henry said, “I am deeply honoured to have been chosen in this manner, and thank God for the opportunity to serve Him in a new way over the next year. I will trust Him for the way ahead.
“I have a strong belief that the gospel is good news and that the Church is to do good for people. In many aspects, both inside and outside the Church, I believe this part of Christian discipleship can be overlooked. I need to remind myself of the many practical expressions of Christian love that are demonstrated daily."