March / April 2017

Lay Canons



Page 4

Popular entertainer George Jones and Dame Mary Peters were the special guests at the annual Good Samaritans

Service on February 5 at which funds raised by the Black Santa Sit-out 2016 were distributed. See pages 10-11.

Cathedral Digest 3

A Letter from the Dean

By the Very Rev John Mann, Dean of Belfast

This magazine

very neatly covers

the period of the

whole of Lent and

right through into

the beginning of

the Easter season.

We are conscious

over these weeks

of the transition of

our Lord’s life that

is encompassed

liturgically, but also of the parallel movement

of our own spiritual pilgrimage

through the reading of the Gospels, and

the span of hymns and psalms that

musically reflect this transition.

precious and meaningful moments. I appeal

to you not to waste them. Take hold

of a Lent book or pattern of readings, or

simply read slowly through one of the

Gospels between now and Easter Day.

There are many things that people do for

Lent that involve giving up and denying

oneself. They indeed may be a powerful

expression of an inner yearning, but it is

the taking up and embracing of something

that will challenge and enrich that

is particularly valuable. May you have a

blessed Lent and a glorious Easter 2017.

Tania back in St Paul’s

for CD recording

In St Anne’s we have the opportunity

to experience this daily, and I hope that

we may all take on a little greater commitment

to prayer and study that Lent

encourages, and Holy Week

substantially draws us into. To read

again the Passion accounts, having

already spent the earlier parts of Lent in

the desert and at other points of turning

or other significance in the life of Jesus,

has a profound effect upon us, such that

we do not always recognise.

I have witnessed myself and others

stunned afresh by the words of Scripture

that describe the depth of the path that

Christ trod, but equally, as Easter Day

is proclaimed with Alleluias and ‘Christ

is Risen’ the profound nature of what

we witness to is subconsciously being

affirmed within.

So it is that we are to spend some days

between the desert and the Cross, and

onward to the empty tomb. These are

Tania Murphy (above), a member of

the Girls’ Choir, returned to St Paul’s

Cathedral, London, in January to record

a CD with St Paul’s Cathedral Choir and

choristers from other UK cathedrals.

The Diamond Fund for Choristers CD,

‘Jubilate,’ will be released on March

17. This Fund was launched last April

at a concert in St Paul’s which brought

together choristers representing 60 cathedrals

along with the choir of St Paul’s.

Tania was selected by St Anne’s Master

of the Choristers David Stevens to

represent St Anne’s.


Cathedral Digest

Pictured at the installation of three new Canons of St Anne’s Cathedral on Sunday January 8 are, from left: The Rev

Canon Gareth Harron (Holywood Parish), the Rev Canon Mark Niblock (Dean’s Vicar); the Rev Canon David

Humphries (Kilbride Parish); and the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John Mann. Photo: Ron Elsdon

Dean on move to Salisbury

The Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John

Mann, has announced that he will be

leaving St Anne’s Cathedral at Easter to

take up a post in England.

The Dean told the congregation at the

11am service on Sunday February 5 that

he had been appointed team rector of

the Parish of Swanage with Studland in

the Diocese of Salisbury.

Dean Mann, who was born in Blackheath,

London, spoke of how hard it

had been to make the decision to move

back across the water having lived most

of his adult life in Northern Ireland. “My

wife Helen and I have been privileged to

serve in four parishes in the Church of

Ireland, as well as St Anne’s Cathedral,

and have seen great change in the

community,” Dean Mann said.

“Our children were both born here and

had much of their education in Belfast.

We will be leaving with fond memories

and with the intent of being back as often

as is practical.”

Dean Mann said the decision to move

across the Irish Sea had been weighing

on him and Helen for some time, and

had been taken for several reasons.

But the main reason, he said, was

because St Anne’s is passing from one

phase of transition, into which he was

appointed, to another, as the Cathedral

Quarter approaches significant change.

“St Anne’s will rise to the opportunities

and challenges that will face a new Dean

and the Cathedral Board over the next

five years,” Dean Mann said. “It is from

this perspective a good time to go.”

“We will also be moving closer to our

family and I look forward not only to that,

but to returning for a few years to my

primary calling as a parish clergyman. It

is a time to look forward for us all.”

The Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan

Abernethy, is a member of the Belfast

Cathedral Board. He said: “I will be

forever grateful for John’s ministry in St

Anne’s, for his prayerful presence. His

clear thinking and compassionate care

for many will leave the Cathedral in good

heart. He and Helen can be assured

of the love and prayers of everyone at

St Anne’s and the clergy and people of

Connor Diocese.”

Cathedral Digest 3

Dean John Mann with St Anne’s Cathedral’s first Lay Canons, Mrs Myrtle Kerr and Mr Robert Kay MBE.

Lay Canons make history

History was made in St Anne’s on

Sunday January 15 when the Cathedral’s

first Lay Canons were installed.

Mrs Myrtle Kerr and Mr Robert Kay MBE

were presented by the Archdeacons

of Down and Belfast respectively and

after the reading of the Mandate by the

Cathedral Registrar, the Dean of Belfast,

the Very Rev John Mann, led each new

Canon to their designated seat.

Dean John Mann leads Canon Robert Kay to his seat in

St Anne’s.

The appointment of Lay Canons to

Church of Ireland Cathedrals only became

possible in 2010. The Constitution

allows St Anne’s Cathedral to appoint

up to three Lay Canons from Connor

Diocese and up to three from Down &

Dean John Mann leads Canon Myrtle Kerr to her seat in

the Cathedral.


Cathedral Digest

At the service of installion of Lay Canons are Myrtle

Kerr, Robert Kay, Archdeacon David McClay and

Archdeacon George Davision.

Dromore Diocese. Mrs Kerr and Mr Kay

are the first to be appointed.

Mrs Kerr, a parishioner of Clonallon and

Warrenpoint with Kilbroney, and her late

husband Cecil moved from the Chaplaincy

in Queen’s University, Belfast, to

establish the Christian Renewal Centre

in Rostrevor in 1974.

Introducing Mrs Kerr at the service, the

Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Rt

Rev Harold Miller, said he ‘could not

think of a more suitable person’ for this

role. He told Mrs Kerr: “This is honouring

you as a person in your own right and as

the person who shared a ministry with

Cecil all through the years.”

Speaking in September when Mrs Kerr’s

appointment was announced, Bishop

Miller described her as ‘an example to

all of us of what it means to follow Jesus

Christ and to carry in her very being the

message of reconciliation.’

Mr Kay, who is married to Carol and is a

parishioner of Agherton in Portstewart,

was introduced by the Bishop of Connor,

the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, who described

him as a ‘giver.’

Mr Kay served faithfully as lay honorary

secretary of the Diocese of Connor for

more than 30 years. He also served on

the Representative Church Body (RCB

- the governing body of the Church of

Ireland), the RCB Executive and was

until very recently chair of the plans committee

of the RCB.

Bishop Abernethy said: “You have used

your professional expertise as your

service to others and this was indeed

your ministry and example for us all. You

have served parishes, the diocese and

the Church of Ireland with humility, grace

and humour.”

Past Chorister Brian Hunter with his MBE at

Buckingham Palace.

Prince of Wales

presents past

chorister with MBE

Cathedral Past Chorister Brian Hunter

was at Buckingham Palace on January

28 to receive his MBE from His Royal

Highness the Prince of Wales.

Brian, who has a long and distinguished

musical career, was awarded the MBE

for services to music in Northern Ireland

in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Brian was the director of Canticle, a

group which became well known for its

television appearances. In the 1990s he

formed a singing group, Pavanne, and in

1995 became Director of the acclaimed

chamber choir Rennaissance.

Brian is Director of Music at St Molua’s

Parish Church, Stormont, having previously

held posts at Bangor Abbey and

Holywood Parish. A versatile musician,

Brian performs as bass, countertenor,

accompanist or conductor. He currently

sings with the Priory Singers, Melisma

and Musicus Amicos.

Cathedral Digest 5

Schools’ choir competition

The St Anne Trust, in conjunction with St

Anne’s Cathedral, is holding its first ever

cross community School Choir of the

Year competition in May.

The competition is open to primary

schools in the greater Belfast area with

sections for Junior Choirs, Senior Choirs

and Special School Choirs.

Joe Watson of The St Anne Trust, said

the Cathedral’s Choir School Project

works with three schools in north Belfast.

“This competition will allow us to expand

beyond these schools and will give us

an opportunity to reach schools across

the whole of Belfast, crossing social,

religious and economic divides,” he said.

The junior and senior choirs’

competition will take place on

Wednesday May 10, with the event for

choirs from special schools held the

following morning, all in the impressive

surroundings of St Anne’s Cathedral.

Joe said: “This is the first time we have

done this, and we are starting small

with the competition open to primary

and special schools only, but we hope

to expand it to secondary level schools

next year and perhaps even open it to

adult choirs.”

There will be places for 14 junior and

senior choirs on May 10. Each choir

will be asked to sing two pieces of the

choir’s own choice and one communal

piece which all choirs will sing together

on the day.

Dates to note before

Dean’s departure

Dean John Mann will be installed as

Team Rector of Swanage and Studland,

Diocese of Salisbury, on June 5.

More detail regarding the departure

of the Dean and Mrs Mann will be in

the next issue of the Digest, but the

transitional arrangements regarding the

Cathedral Board and the Dean’s final

services are as follows:

Thursday April 27: Board AGM/Easter

Vestry: 5pm - Presentation of accounts

followed by the elections and a short

meeting of the newly constituted

Cathedral Board.

Sunday May 21: Dean and Mrs Mann’s

final Sunday in St Anne’s Cathedral

Ben Glover, on his first Sunday as a chorister in the St

Anne’s Cathedral Choir, discusses the music at Choral

Eucharist with one of his predecessors Sir Donald

Murray PC QC, who was a chorister at St Anne’s in the

1930s. Listening in is Ben’s mum.

The Dean will reflect on his time in St

Anne’s in the May/June issue of the

Cathedral Digest.


Cathedral Digest

Music ‘must-haves’ for Easter

The dramatic events of Holy Week and

Easter have been the inspiration for artists

of all kinds, particularly composers

across all musical periods and styles,

and the selection of music for services at

this time of year is a daunting task when

facing such a broad wealth of repertoire.

However, there are a number of works

which stand out as ‘must-haves’, and

two of these works, which will be sung

by the Cathedral Choir during the Easter

season, are the focus here.

Cavalleria Rusticana was Mascagni’s

first and most successful opera.

Mascagni heard of a competition for a

one-act opera just two months before the

closing date, and submitted his entry on

the very last day for submissions.

Selected entries were staged, and,

although it opened to a half-empty

house, it was quickly recognised for the

quality of both libretto and music, and

the tightness of the plot, and has been a

firm favourite of opera companies worldwide


Pietro Mascagni’s

‘Easter Hymn’ is a

rare and welcome

intrusion of the

secular canon

into the sacred

world. The opera

from which it

comes, Cavalleria


(‘Rustic Chivalry’), is a tragedic portrayal

of village life, adultery, and murder. It is

set around a community’s celebrations

of Easter Sunday, and one of the main

scenes is this entirely-sacred hymn of

praise during which villagers take part in

a typically-European procession through

their town. It begins with the Regina

Coeli of the formal church service, but

this quickly gives way to a less-formal

and increasingly-exciting hymn:

Pietro Mascagni (1863 – 1945)

Inneggiamo, il Signor non è morto.

Ei fulgente ha dischiuso l’avel.

Inneggiamo al Signore risorto—

oggi asceso alla gloria del Ciel!

Let us sing hymns, the Lord is not dead.

Shining, he has unsealed the tomb,

Let us sing hymns to the risen Lord—

ascended today to the glory of Heaven!

John Taverner’s

‘Dum transisset

Sabbatum’ is firmly

in the sacred choral

music mould, but

no less beautiful.

The text tells

of the women who

came early on

Easter morning to

anoint Jesus with

spices and found

the tomb empty. At least 470-years-old,

this work is a rare survival – very little

pre-Reformation English cathedral music

is still extant. In fact, the basis of this

work is substantially older – Taverner

took the plainsong melody for the text,

and set it in slow notes, around which he

weaved beautiful polyphony. Although

the music is very ‘correct’ in its accordance

with compositional techniques of

the day, it still displays Taverner’s ability

to respond to text – the slowly-growing

opening in imitation of the rising sun, the

A possible likeness of John

Taverner (c. 1490 – 1545),

from a c.1520 manuscript.

rising and falling ‘aromata’ motif (one can

almost spell the spices!), and the grand,

over-lapping ‘alleluias’ all combine to

make this such a wonderful piece, still

performed nearly five centuries after its


Cathedral Digest 7

Christian Unity cathedrals’

Service hosted by St Peter’s

The annual service for the Week of

Prayer for Christian Unity between the

two Belfast cathedrals was held in St

Peter’s on Tuesday January 17.

As it was the turn of the Roman Catholic

Cathedral to host the service, Church

of Ireland Primate Archbishop Richard

Clarke chose the preacher, the Rt Rev

John McDowell, Bishop of Clogher.

Clergy at the Christian Unity Service in St Peter’s Cathedral, Belfast.

The theme of the service was: ‘Reconciliation

- The Love of Christ compels us,’

based on the text 2 Corinthians 5: 14-20.

Church leaders who attended included

Dr John Dunlop (representing the

Moderator of the Presbyterian Church);

Bishop Anthony Farquar (Roman Catholic)

and the Rev Bill Mullalley (Methodist


Attendance was up on previous years,

which the Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev

John Mann, described as encouraging.

The Choir of St Anne’s joined the Choir

of St Peter’s. St Anne’s Master of the

Choristers David Stevens played the

organ, including a splendid voluntary, for

the two choirs and Nigel McClintock, St

Peter’s Director of Music, conducted the

joint choirs.

The Church of Ireland was represented

at episcopal level by the Bishop of Down

and Dromore, the Rt Rev Harold Miller,

and Bishop McDowell.

The Dean of Belfast and the new Administrator

of St Peter’s Cathedral, Fr Martin

Graham, took part in the service.

Full house for concert

There was a full house on January 28

when St Anne’s hosted singer / songwriter

Mary Chapin Carpenter in concert

as part of the Cathedral Quarter

Arts Festival Out to Lunch series.

The Grammy Award winner told the

audience she could not have hoped to

perform in ‘a more beautiful place.’


Cathedral Digest

Connor Children’s Council

retell Patrick’s adventures

The story of St Patrick will be brought to

life in St Anne’s Cathedral in March when

Connor Children’s Council moves in to

host major a five-day event!

Patrick’s Mysterious Adventure is a family

friendly event aimed at helping people

of all ages to discover first-hand the adventurous

life story of St Patrick through

an exhibition and interactive story trail.

Actors will re-enact the tale from

Patrick’s capture by Irish pirates to his

return to serve the people of Ireland

whom he loved so much.

The event will include workshops, Irish

dancers, circus performers, Viking battle

re-enactments and much more!

P6 pupils on



A group of more than 80

primary six pupils from

Cranmore Integrated ,

St John the Baptist and

Taughmonagh primary

schools came on a fact

finding visit to St Anne’s

on January 20.

It will run in St Anne’s from March 15-19.

Primary schools from inner city Belfast

have been invited to participate on the

first two days, and the Children’s Council

is working in partnership with the St

Patrick’s Centre in Downpatrick which is

providing an education officer to host a

workshop. An artist based on the Shankill

Road will lead another workshop.

The event will be open to all on March

17-19 and will finish with a special intercommunity

St Patrick’s themed service

beginning at 3.30pm on March 19.

Anyone wanting more information should

contact Connor Diocesan Children’s

Development Officer Jill Hamilton on


They were part of a crosscommunity


supported by the Integrated

Education Fund Trust

Programme, and had

already visited the Belfast

Islamic Centre, Bethany

Church in Finaghy, and

Steward Alwyn Tweed talks to the Primary Six children during their visit.

Clonard Monastery.

Mr Andrew Duggan, a

teacher at Cranmore Integrated,

said: “We wanted

to give the children experience

of different places

of worship. After the visits

there are always a lot of


The pupils were guided

around St Anne’s by four

volunteer stewards.

Cathedral Digest 9

George Jones presents a cheque to Cathedral

parishioner Desney Cromey for the St Anne Trust.

Local charities received grants totalling

more than £220,000 raised by Belfast

Cathedral’s Black Santa Sit-out at the

annual Good Samaritans Service on

February 5.

Among those attending the service were

charities working with groups including

the homeless, refugees, people with disabilities,

health charities, young people

and older people.

The cheques were presented by guests

Dame Mary Peters and entertainer

George Jones. The local grants awarded

ranged from £200 to £5,000, with a

£30,000 grant for overseas work made

to Christian Aid.

The Ulster Youth Orchestra received

a grant of £4,740 towards the delivery

of its 2017 summer residential course

and concerts. This will benefit around

90 young people aged 14-23 who will

attend the course running from August

10-19 led by acclaimed conductor Michael


A grant of £1,200 to Lisburn Outlook

will allow the charity, which provides

social and recreation activities for blind

and partially sighted people, to purchase

two tandem bicycles.

A spokesperson said: “Tandem riding

Pictured outside St Anne’s Cathedral before the Good Samaritan

Centre NI; Jennifer Hughes, Shelter NI; Special guest entertainer Ge

Kane, Oh Yeah Mu

Dame Mary and

hand out Black

is a great form of exercise for blind or

partially sighted individuals as it affords

an opportunity for exercise and social

integration between the sighted ‘pilot’

and the blind or partially sighted ‘stoker.”

Shelter Campaign for the Homeless

was awarded £2,000. This will support

various strands of the charity’s work. A

spokesperson for the charity said: “The

donation from the sit-out will make a very

helpful contribution to Shelter Northern

Ireland’s work.”

Oh Yeah Music Centre, based in

Gordon Street, Belfast, received a grant

of £3,400 which will help fund its Shake,


Cathedral Digest

Dame Mary Peters chats with the representative of

Belfast Lough Sailability during the presentations.

lifeguards helped 218 people.

Two of the largest grants were to

charities working with the homeless and

street sleepers. The Simon Community

and the SOS Bus were each awarded

grants of £5,000.

s Service on Sunday February 5 are, from left: Busayo Obey, Migrant

orge Jones; Dean John Mann; Special guest Dame Mary Peters; Paul

sic Centre; Paula Klein, Ulster Youth Orchestra and Tony Swan, RNLI.

George Jones

Santa grants

Rattle and Roll project working with

people from supported living and day


A spokesperson said: “We have noted

in previous work that people who attend

workshops enjoy sessions immensely.

People are more engaged, less stressed

and make new friends and have new

interests and subjects to stimulate them.”

The RNLI has been awarded £1,527, the

amount needed to train a crew member.

The charity is 100 per cent funded by

donations and legacies, and in 2015,

NI Lifeboats launched 269 times,

bringing 279 people to safety, while RNLI

The Simon Community works with people

to help them resolve problems and

circumstances that might put their home

at risk. It has 22 accommodation projects

in Northern Ireland and offers 385 beds

every night of the year for short-term and

long-term clients who are experiencing

homelessness. The charity helps more

than 3,000 people every year.

The SOS Bus helps vulnerable people

at times of crisis, providing professional

medical attention, transport to hospital,

home or other place of safety, emotional

care and listening ear services, signposting

to statutory service providers and


The Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John

Mann, who completed his sixth Black

Santa Sit-out in December, said the

annual Good Samaritans Service was

‘a celebration of much that is good and

praiseworthy in our community, and

an opportunity to thank those who turn

money into action and goodwill into

improving the lives of others.’

Cathedral Digest 11

Dean preaches at Dublin

Black Santa presentation

The Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John

Mann, was the guest preacher at a service

in St Ann’s Church, Dawson Street,

Dublin, on Sunday February 12 when the

proceeds of the 2016 Dublin Black Santa

Appeal were distributed to 15 charities.

A total of €41,000 was raised during the

sit-out outside St Ann’s in the 10 days

before Christmas. The Vicar, the Rev

Canon David Gillespie, thanked all those

who donated or helped with the appeal.

In his sermon Dean Mann drew on the

Old Testament reading [Deuteronomy

30: 15–20]. He said that in the reading

Moses recognised the challenges ahead

for the people of Israel as they reached

the Promised Land but that ultimately

they must make their choices and decisions

in the light of the commandments

of God. He set before them life and

prosperity and death and adversity.

Dean Mann said that the Church had

long been concerned with the questions:

“How do we translate the very hopes

that we have and our daily prayers that

flow from them into action that actually

changes lives? How do we seek life and

prosperity and challenge and confront

that which tends to death and adversity?”

The Dean said that the Church has

played its part in social action but yet

in so many aspects of life today it feels

inadequate. He suggested that often the

temptation was to avoid confrontation

or be frightened by the sheer scale of

problems facing society.

“The Black Santa tradition has grown out

Representatives of the charities who received funding

from the Black Santa Sit-out at St Ann’s, Dublin, with

clergy and Dean John Mann who preached.

of this place of decision. The recognition

that its desire to support those on the

margins and the vulnerable and needy

is reflected by society at large. People

generally want to help and most of us

have our particular charitable concerns,

but the advantage of the St Ann’s Black

Santa collection is that it supports the

range of charities that you see acknowledged

on the service sheet so it allows

us to have a little part in a portfolio of

charitable support,” he stated.

The Dean added that the Black Santa

process was very simple. “We are channels

for concern reflected by allowing

ourselves to be used as conduits of

charitable giving. It works because it

fulfils a need, linking human generosity

with human compassion,” he said.


Cathedral Digest

Tribute to Bishop Sam Poyntz

The Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John

Mann, has paid the following tribute to

the Rt Rev Dr Samuel Poyntz, former

Bishop of Connor and of Cork, Cloyne

and Ross, who died on February 18.

It was with great sadness, but equal sense

of deep gratitude and admiration that

Helen and I heard of the death of Bishop

Samuel Poyntz. We have much reason to

be thankful to him, as has the Diocese of

Connor and the Church of Ireland.

We well remember a Friday morning in

early 1993, as I, then a rector in Winchester

Diocese, took a phone call from

Belfast: “Hello, John, it’s your old bishop

here. How are you? Would you think of

coming back to Connor? Cloughfern is

vacant. How about it?” Such was the

man and bishop I was to come to serve

as both my Father in God and then as his

rector, as he lived for many years of his

retirement in St John’s Malone.

How do I think of him? Well, Bishop Paul

Colton’s words, paying tribute to Sam’s

time as Bishop of Cork ring so, so true.

This was a man who maintained a staggering

workload, never spared himself,

was courageous, faithful, determined

and having a deep sense of the glory of

God. He achieved so much and inspired

others to achieve things too. He was a

man of Epiphany and Transfiguration; two

festivals that he adored, both of which link

heaven and earth in the eternal purpose of

God’s saving love for his creation.

He was a dedicated and diligent pastor,

an organiser par excellence, an innovator

and encourager. His ecumenical endeavours

were expressed both locally and

internationally as he tirelessly strove to

bring Christians to a deeper understanding

of their inherent unity.

This would never have led him to compromise

his own convictions and, so, for

Dean John Mann with Bishop Sam and Mrs Noreen

Poyntz; former Archbishop of Armagh Lord Eames and

Lady Eames and the Rev Louise Stewart at a special

service at St John’s, Malone, before Bishop Poyntz

moved to Dublin.

example, Bishop Poyntz’s determination to

be the first bishop of the Church of Ireland

to ordain a woman to the diaconate and

soon after to the priesthood was motivated

by the sheer joy of being associated with

these important steps.

The RTE archive notes the St Anne’s

connection: “Two women deacons, Rev

Irene Templeton and Rev Kathleen Young,

were the first women to be ordained. The

ceremony took place at Saint Anne’s Cathedral

in Belfast, and was celebrated by

Bishop of Connor Dr Samuel Poyntz.”

Several people have paid tribute to Bishop

Sam’s kindness. I too have known that

side of his nature. His appreciation of

what other clergy have done for him is

humbling in the extreme. He could never

do enough for us, and he never forgot the


His spirituality is at the heart of his love

of the Church of Ireland, but while that

accorded with his daily routine cycle of life,

the sheer magnitude of the higher level

of his service to the Church that was his

life is well beyond my words to describe.

Someone soon should assess this man’s

contribution with the capacity and sincerity

that it deserves. But at this moment we

face his loss; our prayers are with Noreen

and their family.

Cathedral Digest 13


As it was in the beginning…(xvi)

By Vernon Clegg

In 1894, the Belfast News Letter reported

that at the monthly meeting of the Diocesan

Council in Belfast, which he chaired

on March 7 1894, Bishop Welland revived

the idea of a Cathedral, previously

abandoned in the early 1860s. He was

asked to bring it up at the next meeting.

Press reports don’t mention that he did.

However, on March 20, before that meeting

was due, the Bishop informally presented

to the Select Vestry his proposal

to convert St Anne’s Parish Church into

a pro-Cathedral. Two days later, after a

specially convened meeting, the Vestry

wrote to him rejecting the idea. Their

reasoning was that it would mean handing

over to the Bishop the endowment

specially designed and subscribed for the

maintenance of the Parish Church. Also,

the Parish Church would lose its right to

appoint nominators when selecting future

vicars. Unusually, the meeting wasn’t

chaired by the vicar or his curate (neither

being present) and the chair was taken

by one of the churchwardens.

He wrote again to the Vestry asking for

the matter not to be raised at the Easter

Vestry only days away but that, if it was

raised, he had three points to make: “(1)

that the question of the vicarage is not

essential to the plan; the Vicar might

be retained with his full income and

privilege. (2) that the parish would not

be deprived of the benefit of this parish

church, and (3) that, in my opinion, the

Parish Church would be advanced in

dignity and usefulness”.

At the following Vestry meeting the

chairman, the curate the Rev John H

Mervyn, refused to confirm the minutes

of that meeting saying that it hadn’t been

properly convened. Proper or not, the

Bishop’s reply to the Vestry made it valid.

It left plenty of space between the lines:

“My Dear Sir, I beg to acknowledge the

receipt of the Resolution of St Anne’s

Select Vestry which you have kindly sent

me and which I did not see except in the

public press till today. I am, yours very

sincerely, etc”. While the Bishop would

have been disappointed with the rejection

he was also displeased by the disclosure

to the press of the Vestry’s reaction.

Thomas James Welland (above) was

born in Dublin on March 31 1830, the

son of an architect, was educated at

Trinity College, Dublin and ordained in

1854. He began his ministry as curate

at Carlow, then was vicar of Painstown

in the same diocese, and next, assistant

chaplain of the Mariners’ Church

in Kingstown (now Dun Laoghaire).

He was clerical secretary of the Jews’

Society, Ireland, from 1862 to 1866 and

then assistant chaplain at Christ Church,

Dublin until 1870. He was the incumbent


Cathedral Digest

at St Thomas’s, Belfast from 1870 until

1892 when he was ordained as Bishop

of the huge combined diocese of Down,

Connor and Dromore (Photo: Chamney


This was a difficult time for the Vestry of

St Anne’s and their 31 year-old curate,

the Revd Mervyn, as they would have

been unsure of the future. The vicar,

Rev Dr Robert Hannay, was ill and

hadn’t lived in the parish for years. So

the Easter Vestry meeting on March 26

was chaired by the curate. The News

Letter reported that the Bishop’s plan did

get raised and his points were put, as he

had requested. Support for the proposal

had by now gained favour with all on

the Select Vestry except the one person

who admitted to sharing the news of the

rejection with that newspaper.

Henry Robert Brett was O’Hara’s curate

at Coleraine and he moved to Belfast as

the new vicar’s curate in August, 1894.

St Anne’s curate, the Rev John Mervyn,

moved on to St Paul’s, Belfast. He was

later Rector at Glenavy, was a Minor

Canon at St Anne’s, 1906-1915, and

retired as Rector of Ballysillan in 1935.

He died in 1943.

1894 was turning out to be an eventful


Dedication of new

music stand

On May 18 vicar Hannay died in Dundrum,

Dublin, aged 59. He had come

to St Anne’s as curate-in-charge from

Christ Church, Belfast, in 1870 and was

appointed Vicar in 1872. He was loved

by the St Anne’s congregation who

subscribed for a memorial. The marble

tablet didn’t survive the demolition of the

church only 10 years later.

The vicar’s son, the Rev James Owen

Hannay, was the novelist who wrote

under the pseudonym, George Birmingham.

He was born in Belfast and

educated at Methodist College and

Trinity. His last appointment, in 1934,

was as vicar of Holy Trinity, Kensington,

London, where he served until his death

in 1950.

In June 1894, St Anne’s parochial nominators

chose the Rev Henry Stewart

O’Hara to follow Hannay as vicar. He

was, at the time, rector of Coleraine, a

position his father had previously held

for many years. The 26 year-old Rev

Dean John Mann and Organist Ian Barber with

the new music stand.

A new music stand was dedicated at

Choral Evensong on January 8.

The stand, dedicated by the Dean

the Very Rev John Mann, was crafted

by the Rev Willis Cordner of AD

Design, a retired Minister and father

of Simon, St Anne’s Cathedral’s

Business Development Manager.

Cathedral Digest 15






Eucharist Assistants

Barbara Callender and Patricia McKinley

Marion Gibson and Terry Pateman

Alan Martin and Phyllis Forster

Doris Hempton and Jean Cunning







Patricia Mckinley and Alan Martin

Phyllis Forster and Marion Gibson

Jean Cunning and Terry Pateman

Doris Hempton and Barbara Callender

Phyllis Forster and Patricia McKinley

Cathedral flowers

There are no flowers on display in the Cathedral during Lent.

Anyone interested in adding their name to the flower list, or providing

flowers in memory of a loved one, should contact

admin@belfastcathedral.org or ring Roseann Hughes on 028 9032 8332.


Sunday Coffee






Mildred Irvine

Gail Barr

Phyllis Watson

Gillian McGaughey

Wednesday ‘Sanctus’

‘Be Still and Know,’ an introduction to

centering prayer led by the Rev Alan

Lorimer on Saturday March 4 will be

followed by ‘Sanctus – Come savour

silence in the rhythm of prayer.’

This will be in sacred space at St Anne’s

on Wednesdays March 8th, 15th, 22nd

and 29th at 4.30pm in the Chapel of

Unity, and will be followed by Choral

Evensong at 5.30pm.






Gwen Preece

Helen Alexander

Hazel McCallister

Margaret Fletcher

Patricia McKinley

Moravian invite

The Dean of Belfast, the Very Rev John

Mann, shared thoughts on his experience

of prayer when he was the guest

at Midday Prayer at University Road

Moravian Church on January 5.

The Rev Dr Livingstone Thompson of

the Moravian Church said the aim of

the Midday Prayer time was to support

members in their prayer life, engender

a piety of prayer and to pray.


Cathedral Digest

Funds for aid in South Sudan

The Dean of Belfast released £7,000

from Black Santa funds to Christian Aid

in an immediate response to reports that

South Sudan is in the grip of famine

unfolding for some months across the

whole region, but specifically in South

Sudan with which the local dioceses

have a special affiliation.’

The charity says that 100,000 people are

at risk of starvation, and a further one

million are classified as on the brink of


The Diocese of Connor and the Diocese

of Down and Dromore both have partnerships

with dioceses in South Sudan –

Connor with Yei Diocese and Down and

Dromore with Maridi.

The people in this relatively new country

have already experienced

three years of conflict, and

are at breaking point with

harvests being disrupted,

increasing food and fuel

prices, and the collapse of

the economy.

The Dean, the Very Rev

John Mann, said the donation

was being given ‘conscious

of the humanitarian

catastrophe that has been

Dean Mann said: “With a feeling of near

helplessness in the face of huge need

we make this modest grant to Christian

Aid, whose partners will ensure that it

is used to relieve suffering in one of the

most desperate situations in the world


Rosie Crowther, Christian Aid’s South

Sudan Country Manager said: “Many

people have now exhausted their coping

mechanisms, and tens of thousands

could die of starvation,

millions do not know where

their next meal is coming

from. Tragically, this crisis

was utterly preventable…

The situation will continue to

deteriorate rapidly if we don’t

act now.”

Michael was helped by Christian Aid

after he lost most of his belongings in

the South Sudan conflict.



January 22 Ani Mary Lyons

Zara Roise Pollock

January 29 Cole Junior Doran

February 5 Thom Gerard McCourt

February 19 Sam William Andrews

February 26 Emily Ava Alexander


January 16 Annie Polland, late of Neillsbrook Fold, Randalstown

January 17 Norman McNally, late of Woodgrove Nursing Home, Lisburn

Cathedral Digest 17

Who’s Who in St Anne’s

The Dean

The Very Revd John Mann

9032 8332 (Office)

9066 0980 (Home)


Dean’s Vicar

The Revd Mark Niblock

9032 8332


Assistant Clergy

The Revd Janice Elsdon

9032 8332 ext 224

07977 058669


Other Clergy

The Rt Revd Alan Harper

The Revd Clyde Irvine

The Revd Paul Twomey

Master of the Choristers

David Stevens

9032 8332 ext 225

07545 157613


Business Development and

Marketing Manager

Simon Cordner

9032 8332


Administrative Staff


Marie Devlin

9032 8332 ext 221


Receptionist / Administrator

Roseann Hughes

9032 8332 ext 222


Parish Readers

William Blair

Denise Murray

Head Verger

David Alexander


Ronnie Lawrenson

Cameron McGaughey

Danielle Barr

Cathedral Sextons

Agnes Laffey

Mark Geddis

Alastair Sweetnam

Gerald Kennedy

Stewards’ Coordinators

The Revd Janice Elsdon

Vernon Clegg

Press Officer and Digest Editor

Karen Bushby

9032 8332



Ian Barber

9032 8332 ext 226


Mothers’ Union

Alberta Miskimmin, (Hon Sec)

9079 8033

Flower List & Coffee Rota

Roseann Hughes



Cathedral Digest

Who’s Who in St Anne’s

Friends of the Cathedral

Joan Thompson,

Hon Treasurer / Members Sec

9332 9102

Past Choristers’ Association

Co-ordinator: Ian Monro

07799 608959



Norman Weatherall

Jean Barber

Vernon Clegg

Principal Cathedral Guide

Norman Weatherall

The Cathedral Chapter

The Dean: The Very Revd JO Mann


Treasurer & Chapter Clerk: The Revd

Mark Niblock (2016)

Chancellor: The Venerable DA McClay


Precentor: The Venerable GTW

Davison (2013)

Canons of Connor:

The Revd NP Baylor (2012)

The Revd RW Jones (2013)

The Revd Mark Taylor (2016)

Canons of Down and Dromore

The Revd R Nesbitt (2003)

The Revd SH Lowry (2013)

The Rev G Harron (2016)

Chapter Canons:

The Revd Michael Parker (2015)

The Revd Bro DJ Jardine (2007)

Minor Canons:

The Revd SA Fielding (2002)

The Revd NDJ Kirkpatrick (2014)

The Revd J Bell (2015)

The Revd S Richardson (2015)

Ecumenical Canons:

The Revd Dr R Patterson (2012)

The Revd Ruth E Patterson (2014)

The Very Revd Edward O’Donnell


Lay Canons

Mr Robert Kay (2016)

Mrs Myrtle Kerr (2016)

The Cathedral Board

The Dean (Chairman)

The Bishop of Connor

The Bishop of Down & Dromore

The Dean’s Vicar

The Archdeacons of Belfast and Down

The Rev J Elsdon

The Rev Canon R Jones

The Rev Canon Stephen Lowry

Mrs G McGaughey (Hon Sec)

Dr V KcKinley

Mr J Watson

Mr M Hempton

Dr M Callender

Mr R Totten

Mr D Alexander

Mr R Moore

Mr B Fletcher

Mr A Reilly

Mr R Cromey

Cathedral Digest 19


Sunday Services

8.00am & 10.00am



The Eucharist

Sung Eucharist


Daily services

Monday to Saturday





Morning Prayer

The Eucharist

Prayers (Eucharist on Wednesdays and

Saints’ Days and other Holy Days)

Evening Prayer

Holy Week and Easter

April 9 11am & 3.30pm - Palm Sunday

Procession at 11am)

April 13 7.30pm - Maundy Thursday with

washing of feet

April 14 12-3pm - Good Friday Meditation

on the Passion of Christ led by

Bishop Trevor Williams

April 15 8pm - Easter Vigil

April 16 10am, 11am & 3.30pm - Easter Day

Upcoming events

March 4 Frock Around The Clock Vintage Fair

March 15-19 St Patricks Day Event

March 24 The Flax Trust present the Dublin Youth Orchestra

March 25 Music from the Heart

April 21

April 22

April 23

May 6

May 15

May 18

May 26

Jim ‘The KING’ Brown – Elvis

Sestina Music : Four Seasons

London Concertante

Frock Around The Clock Vintage Wedding Fair

Wartburg Choir – Lunchtime recital

Pro Bono Choir Concert featuring special guests

The Power of Video Conference (Cathedral closed to public)

For further information visit www.belfastcathedral.org


Cathedral Digest

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