A HOLYWOOD, Co Down-born minister whose installation took place in Glenarm on Sunday has said she already feels at home in the Glens.
“I have had the warmest of welcomes,” said Rev Helen MacArthur after the service in St Patrick’s Church of Ireland.
The Bishop of Connor, Rt Rev Alan Arbernethy, officiated at the installation of the non-stipendiary priest in charge of the parish of Ardclinis, Tickmacrevan, Layde and Cushendun. Rural Dean Rev Mark Taylor, from Whitehead, led the devotions and The Venerable Stephen Forde, Archdeacon of Dalriada, was also in attendance.
Like many non-stipendiary clergy in the Church of Ireland, Rev MacArthur had a profession before being ordained. A nursing graduate at Queen’s University, she took early retirement from her post as a nursing tutor in 1997 and embarked on three years of training as a diocesan lay reader. In 2005 she began another three years of weekend studies at the Church’s theological college in Dublin, being appointed a deacon in 2009 and ordained a year later.
For the past three years, Rev MacArthur was a curate close to home at St Andrew’s, Lisburn in the Derriaghy parish.
Her new part-time charge in one of the most scenic parishes anywhere takes in the Glenarm, Carnlough and Cushendall areas. As well as Sunday services, Rev MacArthur will undertake pastoral duties with some 80 families.
The minister will be based at the Rectory in Carnlough
Rev MacArthur said she has been made to feel most welcome, adding: “I feel I belong to the Glens already.” Joining the congregation at Sunday’s service were Sinn Fein representatives Oliver McMullan, MLA, and Coast Road councillor James McKeown, who said they had accepted an invitation to attend and had been “warmly welcomed”.
Mr McMullan added: “We felt that this was an opportunity to meet with people and I think it bodes well for community relations in Glenarm.”
Rev MacArthur said: “It is obvious to me that community relations are excellent in Glenarm and I want to see that continue.”