The Very Rev Sam Wright, BTh, MA, was installed as Dean of Connor at a service in Lisburn Cathedral on Thursday March 3.
Two new Canons were also installed in the Chapter of St Saviour, Connor, while several existing Canons were installed in new positions within the Chapter.
There was large turn-out for the 8pm service, and the preacher was the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy.
The new Dean has been rector of Christ Church Cathedral, Lisburn, for 17 years. He previously served a Precentor in the Chapter of St Saviour.
The Rev Canon George Irwin, (St Mark’s, Ballymacash), formerly Chapter Treasurer, was installed as Chancellor, and the Rev Canon John Budd (Derriaghy), former Prebendary of Rasharkin, was installed as Treasurer.
The former Prebendary of Connor, the Rev Canon George Graham (Dunluce), who was unable to attend the service, is the new Precentor.
The two new Canons are the Rev Canon Peter Galbraith (Broomhedge) who was installed as Prebendary of Connor and the Rev Canon Chris Easton (Armoy, Loughguile and Drumtallagh) who was installed as Prebendary of Rasharkin.
In his address, the Bishop of Connor spoke about the need for Christians to go out into towns and cities with the light and hope of Christ. He referred to the initiative taken by Lisburn Cathedral parishioners through the Big Church Serve which will run for a third successive year this month.
The new Dean and his wife Paula have three children. Peter, who is married to Vicky, has two children, Jonah and Summer. Sam and Paula’s daughter Naomi is married to Andrew and lives with their little girl Esther in the Shetland Islands. Their youngest son, Michael helped with the music during the service.
A former pupil of Bangor Grammar School, Dean Sam worked as a Civil Servant in the Department of Education before going to Trinity College Dublin to study for the Church of Ireland ministry.
After leaving Theological College in Dublin he served as Curate Assistant in the parish of St Aidan, Sandy Row, Belfast, Diocese of Connor, from 1987 to 1991 before moving to Co Fermanagh to become rector of the parishes of Cleenish and Mullaghdun. In 1999 he was appointed rector in Lisburn Cathedral where he will continue to serve.
Dean Sam has held a number of positions within the Church of Ireland. He said: “I consider it a great honour to be asked by Bishop Alan to be the Dean of Connor and I look forward to serving in this new role.
“It is my hope that the Dean and Chapter members will assist the Bishop and Diocesan Development Team in the mission and ministry of Christ in the Diocese of Connor. He said he had been overwhelmed with the messages of support and congratulations from his parishioners in Lisburn Cathedral and from friends in other churches and denominations.
He added that it was significant that Councillor Thomas Beckett, in his capacity as Mayor of Lisburn and Castlereagh, attended the service as he has been an enthusiastic supporter of the contribution churches make to the community and in particular of the ReLENTless Prayer initiative which this Lent is bringing 18 churches from across Lisburn to pray for the city.
After the installation service Dean Sam said: “To be installed as Dean of Connor in Lisburn Cathedral where I have served for the past 17 years is an amazing moment in my life. The presence at the service of so many wonderful parishioners from the Cathedral, members of other churches, alongside good friends, family and clergy colleagues was very affirming and inspiring.
“Congratulations to the Rev Canon Peter Galbraith and the Rev Canon Christopher Easton who have joined the Cathedral Chapter and to the clergy who have moved to new positions. I look forward to working with all the members and the Bishop and Diocesan Team as we seek to build Christ’s Kingdom and introduce many more people to the wonderful love and grace of Christ.”