New Lay and Ecumenical Canons installed in Armagh

From left: Bishop Richard Clarke, Canon Heather Morris, Canon Kenneth Milne,
Archbishop John McDowell and Dean Shane Forster, at the Service of Installation in St Patrick's Cathedral, Armagh.

In an historic day on the Hill of Armagh, two new Canons were installed at St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, on Sunday, 4th December. The Revd Canon Dr Heather Morris, General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Ireland, became the Cathedral’s most recent Ecumenical Canon and Canon Dr Kenneth Milne, well–known as the Church of Ireland’s Historiographer with a long history in education and inter–church relations, formally took up his role as Lay Canon.

Both appointments were announced last summer, with Canon Milne succeeding the late Canon Dr Muriel McCarthy and Canon Morris succeeding the Revd Dr Tony Davidson, following his retirement.  The Canons were installed by Archbishop John McDowell with the sermon preached by his predecessor, Bishop Richard Clarke. 

In his sermon, Bishop Clarke spoke on John the Baptist, who was “clear that his identity is not his own proud possession but is to point on towards Jesus Christ” and who also had “no middle ground … when it comes to truth and authenticity.”  He concluded: “Without truth, both about ourselves, within ourselves and towards others, there can never be any authentic respect for anything or anyone, and yet it is only with respect that there can ever be real self–giving love, that beating heart of the Christian life.”

Commending Canon Milne in the announcement of his appointment, Archbishop McDowell remarked that he has “helped keep alive an expansive vision of the role of the Church, in Ireland and in Europe, and I hope this canonry, in some small way, goes towards a recognition of the quiet wisdom and graciousness with which he has brought into the treasury of the Church.”  In his commendation of Canon Morris, he noted: “Heather is an eloquent preacher with a pastoral heart, who is genuinely interested in and committed to ecumenical outreach across this island, and I know that she will receive a warm welcome in her new role in Armagh.”