Banbridge man announced as new Belfast Dean

Archdeacon Stephen Forde.  INLT 44-731-CON
Archdeacon Stephen Forde. INLT 44-731-CON

A native of Banbridge is to be the next dean of St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.

It was announced on Sunday by the cathedral’s Board of Nomination thatArchdeacon Stephen Forde had been appoined to the prestigious position.

He replaces the Very Rev John Mann who has moved to Salisbury diocese.

Archdeacon Forde, who is 55, was born in Banbridge and grew up in Rathfriland, Crossgar and later Belfast where he was educated at Campbell College.

He was ordained as a deacon in 1986 and a priest in 1987 having attended the Church of Ireland Theological College.

While very much a man of the cloth, his primary degree is in Architecture at the University of Edinburgh.

Archdeacon Forde’s first role was as curate assistant at St Mary’s Parish, Crumlin Road, Belfast, Diocese of Connor in 1986 and he went on to become chaplain at Queen’s University, Belfast.

In 1999 he returned to the Diocese of Connor as rector of the parishes of Larne and Inver with Glynn and Raloo.

In Larne, Archdeacon Forde saw through the completion of three major building projects, with the total restoration and refurbishment of Glynn Parish Church (1999-2000), Raloo Parish Church (2005), and a significant extension to Glynn Church in 2012.

He is married to Fiona, a staff nurse at Antrim Hospital, and the couple have two daughters Rachel and Amy, and a son, Michael.

Archdeacon Forde said his appointment was “a huge challenge” and one he is “incredibly excited about taking on”.

His new position comes at a time of enormous change for the cathedral, as developments in the area now place it much more centrally in the city centre.