The Church of Ireland’s newest bishop, Rt Rev George Davison, was consecrated on Thursday, September 3rd, 2020 at a service in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, conducted under strict Covid-19 restrictions.
The Rt Rev Davison, former Archdeacon of Belfast and rector of Carrickfergus, became Bishop of Connor at the service which had been delayed for several months due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Bishop Davison was appointed by the Episcopal Electoral College for the Diocese of Connor on February 17th. His consecration had originally been scheduled for May.
In a video message to the diocese recorded on the eve of the Service of Consecration, Bishop Davison said: “This is a service that has been in planning for some time, a considerable time longer than any of us had realised.”
He continued: “That delay, of course, has been caused by the same coronavirus emergency that has turned all our lives upside down over the last number of months. As individuals and as a society, we face challenges that we have never had to deal with before. It has caused real heartache for many people, and for some, the challenges they have faced make the delay of a service feel very insignificant.”
The bishop said that familiar ways of doing things had to be put on hold, and churches had to learn new ways to enable people to join together as the family of God.
“Even as we take these tentative steps back into our church buildings again, I am very conscious that we still have challenges ahead of us,” he said. “We have to be realistic about the challenges ahead, but I am convinced that they should not, and will not, define us.”
The service took place in the presence of a congregation of less than 30, when in normal circumstances several hundred would have attended. It was live-streamed online so parishioners across Connor Diocese and beyond could follow the consecration.
The co-consecrators were the Archbishop of Armagh, the Most Rev John McDowell; the Bishop of Meath and Kildare, the Most Rev Pat Storey, and the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe the Rt Rev Andrew Forster. The preacher was the Rt Rev Kenneth Clarke, formerly Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh.
Bishop Davison succeeds the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy who retired in December 2019.
He has been Archdeacon of Belfast since 2013, and will be succeeded as archdeacon by the Ven Barry Forde, chaplain at Queen’s University.
The bishop is a former Honorary Secretary of the Church of Ireland’s General Synod. A native of south Belfast, the 55-year-old studied theology at St Andrew’s University, Scotland; Oak Hill College, London and the Church of Ireland Theological College, Dublin.
He was ordained a deacon in June 1992 at a service in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh, and served his curacy in St Mark’s Parish, Portadown.
In 1995, Bishop Davison was appointed rector of the Parish of Kinawley and Holy Trinity, Derrylin, Co Fermanagh, in the Diocese of Kilmore, where he remained until his institution as rector of Carrickfergus in June 2009. In Kilmore, he was Diocesan Director of Ordinands, and Archdeacon of Kilmore.
Bishop Davison is married to Nadine, and they have two grown up children.
The new bishop will be Enthroned in Christ Church Cathedral, Lisburn, and Installed in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, on dates to be confirmed.
Read more news from the Diocese of Connor here.