The Rev Barry Forde, Chaplain of the Hub, the Church of Ireland Student Centre at Queen’s University, is to become the next Church of Ireland Archdeacon of Belfast in the Diocese of Connor.
Barry succeeds the Ven George Davison, Bishop-Designate of Connor, who will be consecrated as bishop of the diocese on September 3rd, 2020.
The 45-year-old is married to Claire and they have three children.
Barry studied law at Dundee University before training to be a barrister in the Legal Institute, part of Queen’s University, for a year. He practised as a barrister for three years before working for a financial services company.
He studied Theology at Trinity College Dublin from 2004-07 and successfully undertook a set of special examinations to became a Trinity College Scholar in 2006.
Barry was ordained a deacon at Christ Church Cathedral, Lisburn, in June 2007, and was ordained a priest in St James’ Church, Belfast, in June the following year. In 2018, he completed a Masters in Canon Law from Cardiff University.
He said he was ‘privileged, humbled, fearful and hopeful’ by the invitation to be the next Archdeacon of Belfast. “It has come at a time of wider societal uncertainty that is having a profound impact on all our lives and that of the diocese, and at a time of discerning my own personal journey of vocation,” he said.
“After much thought and prayer by myself and my wife Claire, I am delighted to have a real sense of God’s peace about saying ‘yes.’ I’ve served in Connor Diocese since I was ordained, and for the past decade have ministered in the city of Belfast.”
Reflecting in the challenges of his new role, Barry commented that Belfast has a wide range of socio-economic groups, along with cultural, political, and religious interfaces and inner city and suburban areas.
“Some communities are deep-rooted, whilst others are very transient, with one indication of this being the diverse community of students living in the city centre,” he said.
“The needs of its children, youth and young adults are self-evident given the multiple schools, universities and colleges in the city, whilst the impact of the current pandemic will be hugely challenging to its retail, commercial and social sectors for years to come.
“In the midst of all this, the people of the Church of Ireland, along with other churches, are responding in a variety of ways in their local parishes, through the ministry of chaplaincy, a Centre of Mission, and through the presence and role of the Cathedral at the heart of the city.
“The challenge and opportunity is to get alongside these ministries and help to encourage and shape how we live and move and have our being in the city.”
The new archdeacon will continue in his role as university chaplain. No date has yet been set for his installation, but he will take up office on September 4th, 2020.
Bishop-designate George Davison said: “I am delighted that Barry has accepted my invitation to become Archdeacon of Belfast.
“Through the ministry that he already offers, Barry is known and appreciated by many in Connor Diocese.
“His lively faith, warm personality and strategic mind will be a great gift to the archdeaconry and the wider diocese as we negotiate the challenges of the current times and seek to assist parishes in the task of proclaiming Jesus as the hope of the world.”
Read more news from the Diocese of Connor on their website here.