The Rev Stephen Fielding, rector of Agherton Parish, Diocese of Connor, has been appointed a Canon of Belfast Cathedral.
He succeeds the Rev Canon Robert Jones, who has moved to a new position as rector of Kiltegan Group of Parishes, Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory.
A native of Londonderry, Stephen has been a Minor Canon of St Anne’s since 2002.
He has a degree in Economics and Geography from the University of Ulster and worked as a geological technical assistant in London before studying theology at Trinity College, Dublin.
After his ministry training he was curate in the parish of Bangor Abbey, Diocese of Down, and in 1997 he was appointed to the parishes of Templepatrick and Donegore, Diocese of Connor. He was instituted as rector of Agherton in April 2007.
Stephen’s links with Belfast Cathedral go back to the days when he was a chorister at St Columb’s Cathedral in Londonderry, and visited St Anne’s each year for the Four Choirs’ Festival, which has since been discontinued.
Stephen said he was delighted to have been offered the Canonry by the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy. “It is lovely to have the chance to serve the Cathedral in a different way and I am looking forward to working with Dean Stephen Forde and other members of the Chapter,” he said.
Stephen said he was also looking forward to renewing his friendship with his former curate at Agherton, the Rev Canon Mark Niblock, now Dean’s Vicar at St Anne’s.
He added: “I am very grateful to the Bishop for the recognition of my contribution to the diocese and the wider Church of Ireland.”
Dean Forde said: “For many years Stephen has been a Minor Canon in the Cathedral and has lent his voice to lead worship on many important occasions.
“As Dean, I am looking forward to welcoming him as the newest member of the Cathedral Chapter and seeing him take his place within the life of the Cathedral. I hope he will join me on the steps of St Anne’s in the week before Christmas, sharing in the duties of Black Santa.”
A date for the installation of the new Canon has yet to be set.