The Rev Christopher St John, former curate in St Mark’s, Dundela, Diocese of Down and Dromore, was instituted as rector of St Nicholas’, Carrickfergus, by his predecessor, the Rt Rev George Davison, Bishop of Connor.
The service on Thursday 21st January 2021 was conducted under strict Covid-19 guidelines, and was live streamed on the parish Facebook page.
Describing it as a very ‘unusual’ institution service, Bishop George told his successor: “I know the people of St Nicholas’ and I know that while they are not able to be with you in person here this evening, they are very much with you in their prayers and you will be loved and supported in this place.”
The preacher was the Archdeacon of Down, the Ven Helene Steed, rector of St Mark’s, Dundela.
In a sermon recorded in her own church, Archdeacon Steed said: “It feels rather odd to introduce your new rector Chris to you in a pre-recorded sermon, preached in a different church, but life is as it is. And despite these Covid-19 restrictions, I hope and pray that this service will be special and spiritual to Chris and Andrea, and to all in the St Nicholas’ family.”
As the service neared a close, St Nicholas’ new rector thanked everyone who had worked so hard to make the service possible. “It is such a pity we weren’t able to all meet together because of the Covid restrictions, but I have been tremendously encouraged by all of the many messages have received virtually, on Facebook, and I am aware that a lot of people are watching this service,” he said.
Christopher, 54, is a native of Londonderry. He moved at a young age to Newtownabbey where he was a member of the Church of the Holy Spirit, Mossley.
He has PhD in Adult Education, and a number of Masters’ degrees, and worked for several years in adult education and child protection training, before embarking on training at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute seven years ago.
Christopher served his deacon intern year in Holy Trinity, Woodburn, Connor Diocese, before ordination as curate assistant in St Mark’s, Dundela, in August 2017.
He is married to Andrea and they have three children.