The Bishop of Connor is the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, former rector of Ballyholme Parish in Down Diocese. The Bishop, who succeeds the Most Rev Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, was consecrated at a service in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, on June 29 2007. His enthronement took place on September 6 2007.
The 52-year-old father of two said he was ‘incredibly honoured’ to be asked to undertake the role of Bishop of Connor. “I would value the prayers of everyone as I move forward,” he said.
“What I love most is to pastor and to teach and I look forward to visiting the clergy and to being a pastor to them."
Bishop Abernethy is from Belfast. He was ordained in 1981 and appointed rector of Ballyholme Parish in 1990.
His wife Liz is a hospital doctor and they have two children, Peter and Ruth. He enjoys reading, walking and cooking and family holidays and is a fanatical Manchester United supporter.
A former pupil of Harding Memorial Primary School and Grosvenor High School, Belfast, Bishop Abernethy obtained a BA in History and Political Science from Queen’s University, Belfast, in 1978; a Dip.Theol. (1st class) from Trinity College Dublin in 1981 and a BD from Queen’s in 1989.
He was Curate-Assistant at St. Elizabeth’s, Dundonald, from 1981 to 1984, and Curate-Assistant, Lecale Group of Parishes and minor canon of Down Cathedral from 1984 until 1987.
During this period he was also Officiating Chaplain at RAF Bishopscourt.
From 1986 until 1990 he was rector of St John’s, Helen’s Bay and Chaplain at Crawfordsburn Geriatric Hospital, before moving to St Columbanus, Ballyholme.
In 2004 Bishop Abernethy was appointed Church of Ireland Central Director of Ordinands and since 2005 has been a member of Church of Ireland Theological Inspection Team
He has also been Church of Ireland Religious advisor to Downtown Radio, and is author of “Fulfilment and Frustration,” published by Columba Press in 2002.