Rev Canon Alan Abernethy, rector of Ballyholme Parish, is the
new Bishop of Connor. The 50-year-old father of two said he was
'incredibly honoured' to be asked to undertake this role. 'I
would value the prayers of everyone as I move forward,' he said.
'What I love most is to pastor and to teach and I look forward
to visiting the clergy and to being a pastor to them. I waver
from shock and panic to excitement and joy, but that is a good
mix of feelings!'
Canon Abernethy's appointment was made by the House of Bishops
of the Church of Ireland, which met in Dublin on Tuesday 17th
April. He succeeds the Most Reverend Alan Harper, who was
elected Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland last
Announcing the appointment, Archbishop Harper said, 'I warmly
welcome the appointment of Canon Alan Abernethy to become chief
pastor in the Diocese of Connor. That diocese is very much in my
heart, since I spent a considerable part of my ministry there.'
He went on, 'Canon Abernethy brings considerable gifts, which
will greatly benefit the diocese when he begins his Episcopal
ministry. He has served as Central Director of Ordinands and has
been very closely identified with the work the Church of
Ireland is doing to reshape training for ministry. I wish
Canon Abernethy and his wife, Liz, every blessing in this new
development in his ministry.'
Canon Abernethy is from Belfast. The Bishop-elect was ordained
in 1981 and appointed to his present post as rector of
Ballyholme Parish in 1990. His wife Liz is a hospital doctor and
they have two children, Peter, 18 and Ruth, 16. He enjoys
reading, walking and cooking and family holidays and is a
fanatical Manchester United supporter.
A former pupil of Harding Memorial Primary School and Grosvenor
High School, Belfast, Canon Abernethy obtained a BA in History
and Political Science from Queen's University, Belfast, in 1978;
a Dip.Theol. (1st class) from Trinity College Dublin in 1981 and
a BD from Queen's in 1989. He was Curate-Assistant at St.
Elizabeth's, Dundonald, from 1981 to 1984, and Curate-Assistant,
Lecale Group of Parishes and minor canon of Down Cathedral from
1986 until 1986. During this period he was also Officiating
Chaplain at RAF Bishopscourt. From 1986 until 1990 he was rector
of St John's, Helen's Bay and Chaplain at Crawfordsburn
Geriatric Hospital, before moving to his present post as rector
of St Columbanus, Ballyholme. In 2004 the Bishop-Elect was
appointed Church of Ireland Central Director of Ordinands and
since 2005 has been a member of Church of Ireland Theological
Inspection Team. He has also been Church of Ireland Religious
advisor to Downtown Radio, and is author of 'Fulfilment and
Frustration,' published by Columba Press in 2002.