Canon Kevin Graham given temporary role at Belfast Cathedral
Until the Dean of Belfast returns to full duties at St Anne's Cathedral, he and the Bishop of Connor have appointed Canon Kevin Graham as "Acting Dean's Vicar" ("pro tem") for any significant services to be held at the cathedral.
Canon Graham, as Rector of St Bartholmew's Parish, Stranmillis in South Belfast lives closer to the cathedral than any of the other cathedral canons, making his involvement relatively easy. This temporary role is in addition to his principal duties as Rector of St Bartholomew's, and Director of Ordinands. In time the Dean will seek to advertise, and appoint a full time Dean's Vicar as a member of the cathedral staff team.
Kevin Graham served a challenging apprenticeship for the role, as he represented the Dean, working closely with the Bishop, Northern Ireland Office, the BBC and the full staff team at Belfast Cathedral preparing for the televised "Service of Reflection for the Life of Queen Elizabeth II" in the presence of the King and Queen Consort on Tuesday 13th September.
Any future significant services which Canon Graham will be involved in organising at the cathedral will seem simple in comparison.
It has been interesting for the Dean to discover the number of creative theories about his absence from the Service of Reflection for health reasons. On the basis that facts are preferable to fiction, the Dean wishes it to be know that some weeks ago he developed shingles in his face and right eye. Shingles causes debilitating pain, and in the eye can lead to permanent damage or even blindness in the affected eye. Bright light and the use of a computer screen can be particularly aggravating.
The pain eases only as inflammation in those nerve endings in the face and eye which have been irritated by the shingles virus gradually reduces. The Dean has therefore been required to follow doctor's advice, and will remain off work for some weeks more until the pain is fully reduced.