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Please click to enlargeClergy from the Chapter of St Saviour in the Church of Ireland Diocese of Connor will celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the Chapter’s foundation with a sponsored walk

The Dean and Chapter will walk the 12 plus miles along the Lagan Towpath from Belfast Cathedral to Lisburn Cathedral on Saturday June 6. The proceeds of the sponsored walk will help build a school in Connor’s link diocese of Yei in Southern Sudan.

The Dean of Connor, the Very Rev John Bond, said he hoped the whole Chapter would take part in this anniversary fundraising venture. Members are the Archdeacon of Connor, the Ven Dr Stephen McBride, vicar of Antrim; the Archdeacon of Dalriada, the Ven Stephen Ford, rector of Larne; Canon Stuart Lloyd, rector of St Patrick’s, Ballymena; Canon Percy Walker, rector of St Mary’s with Holy Redeemer, Belfast; Canon Sam Wright, rector of Lisburn Cathedral; Canon George Irwin, rector of Ballymacash; Canon William Bell rector of Eglantine; Canon George Graham, rector of Dunluce; and Canon Earnest Harris, rector of Ballinderry.

The walkers will leave St Anne’s at 1pm and anticipate arriving at Lisburn Cathedral five or six hours later. “It’s a fair distance and none of us are seasoned walkers in that respect, but we are doing it primarily to help build Mongo school,” said Dean Bond. The school is currently under construction in Mongo town, Yei Diocese, a region recovering from a ferocious civil war which lasted 20 years. The work has been funded by parishes in Connor.

Following their walk the Dean and Chapter will participate in a short period of prayer in Lisburn Cathedral.

A Celebration of Holy Communion will be held in the Cathedral on Tuesday June 9 when the preacher will be the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, Bishop of Connor, and this will be followed by a Chapter Dinner.

Anyone interested in sponsoring the Chapter on its 400th anniversary walk can contact Dean Bond on 028 25861215 or email

For further information contact Karen Bushby, Connor Diocesan Communications Officer, on 028 4066 0798 or 07766 103880 (mob) or email

A History of the Dean and Chapter of St Saviour, Connor

The Dean and Chapter of St Saviour, Connor, in the Cathedral of Christ Church, Lisburn, comprises 10 clergy. The Dean is the Very Rev John Bond (elected 2001). Other members are as follows:

Archdeacon of Connor – the Ven Dr SR McBride (2002); Archdeacon of Dalriada – the Ven SB Forde (2006); Chancellor – the Rev SGE Lloyd (2001); Precentor – the Rev JP Walker (2004); Treasurer – the Rev WS Wright (2005).

Prebendaries: Kilroot – the Rev WG Irwin (2004); Rasharkin – the Rev CW Bell (2005); Connor – the Rev GE Graham (2005); Cairncastle – the Rev EF Harris (2005).

The Chapter has a lengthy history. In 1609, the Chapter of the Church of Connor, situated near Kells, was remodelled by Charter of King James I and received the Latin name of ‘Ecclesia Cathedralis sancti Salvatoris (ie Saint Saviour) de Connorth.’ The Chapter of Connor was to consist of Dean, Archdeacon, Chancellor, Precentor and Treasurer, along with the four Prebendaries of Kilroot, Rasharkin, Connor and Cairncastle.

In 1662, a Charter of King Charles II ‘…constituted and established the said Church of Lisvurne, alias Lisnagarvie, and the place of the same church to be for ever hereafter the Episcopal Seat of the aforesaid several bishopricks of Down and Connor…’ Some years ago doubts were raised as to the validity of this Charter. In 1952 a Bill of the General Synod confirmed Lisburn Cathedral as that of the Diocese.

Members of the Chapter of St Saviour wear a distinctive badge on their preaching scarves – this Chapter seal originates in the 17th century. In 1992 the decision was also made by the Chapter that members may wear distinctive crimson cassocks and in 1999 it was agreed that they may wear a crimson sub collar band.

John Bond, Dean of Connor, was installed in 2001, wears the Insignia or Emblem of Office. This was commissioned by the Chapter, and dedicated by the Bishop of the Diocese in memory of Dean JS Fair.

The first holder of the office of Dean was Milo Whale (1609). The first recorded holder of the office of Archdeacon was Eustachius (1225). Perhaps for this reason the Archdeacon of Connor takes precedence, after the Dean, over the other Dignitaries, unlike many other Chapters where the Archdeacon ranks below the other three Dignitaries.

The post of Archdeacon of Dalriada, named after an ancient Irish/Scots kingdom, dates from 1965, when the growth of the diocesan population was at its height and extra assistance was necessary for the Bishop. The Archdeacon of Connor has responsibility for the southern part of the diocese and the seniority of the Archdeacons is determined by the length of service in office.

From 1609 each member of the Chapter drew his sustenance from a corps or group of benefices. These were substantially reduced in 1834 and 1868. At Disestablishment in 1870 sustentation was completely abolished, and thus today the titles of Chapter members are honorary. All appointments to the Chapter are exclusively in the hands of the Bishop of the Diocese and can only be held so long as the holder ‘shall continue to be a beneficed or licensed clergyman in the said Diocese of Connor and no longer.’

The Dean is styled the Very Reverend and Archdeacons the Venerable. The title Chancellor is often used by the holder of that office while the other Dignitaries and the four Prebendaries are referred to as Canon.