Rev. Robert Austell, pastor of a south Charlotte congregation, lost his bid Saturday to become the new leader of the nation’s largest Presbyterian denomination.
Austell, 44, was one of four candidates vying to be national moderator of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) during the denomination’s General Assembly in Pittsburgh. He is pastor of Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church.
But after four rounds of voting, Austell finished third among the moderator candidates, garnering 22 percent of votes.
The newly-elected moderator is Neal Presa of Middlesex Presbyterian Church in New Jersey, who earned 52 percent of votes in the final round.
Reached late Saturday, Austell said he was in a good place and satisfied with the results of the election. He said he felt he represented his beliefs well and thinks all the candidates were excellent. He said he thinks Presa, whom he got to know during the election process, will be a great job as moderator.
Saturday’s election was the first major event of the General Assembly, which continues during the coming week.