A special and, in the words of the Dean of Connor ‘probably unique.’ Service of Installation took place in Lisburn Cathedral on February 20.
At this, the Rt Rev George Davison was welcomed to the Cathedral as Bishop of Connor by the Dean, and invited inside, where he was greeted by a congregation made up predominantly of young people. [Check out the PHOTO GALLERY below].
At Bishop George’s request, the special Service of Installation, which due to the Covid-19 pandemic took place two years after Bishop George’s appointment, was focused on the youth of the diocese.
It was young people who led the readings and prayers, and members of Connor Youth Forum who read the Charge to the Bishop – one they had written themselves.
As is tradition, Bishop George knocked on the Cathedral door with his pastoral staff to gain admission. Afterwards, he and members of the Chapter of St Saviour (Connor) processed to the front where he was formally installed by the Dean, following the reading of the Mandate from the Archbishop of Armagh by Diocesan Registrar, the Rev Canon Willian Taggart. He was led to his episcopal seat by the Dean.
In his opening greeting, Bishop George spoke about the delay to this service: “The installation of a new Bishop is the moment when, having been duly appointed by the Church and ordained by the Archbishop, the Bishop arrives in the Diocesan Cathedral to begin their work as the Bishop – normally,” he said.
“For all sorts of reasons, mostly to do with that little virus… we have had to do things a little bit differently this time around so, having been elected to succeed Bishop Alan two years ago last week, it has taken until now to be able to have this service.
“Let me assure you that during that time, I have been working as the Bishop… popping in and out of Cathedrals uninstalled on a number of occasions, so I don’t really feel like the new Bishop anymore!”
He said the ministry of a Bishop was one of leadership, but also one of partnership with every person in the diocese who has heard the call of Jesus, adding that not least that meant a partnership with young people. “In taking on this role, I do so in partnership with you, and I am so grateful to you for being here,” he told the young people in the congregation.
Bishop George made special mention of Connor Youth Forum who shared in the leading of the service and who prepared their Charge for him. “I have no doubt as we share together in this service, it will be a meaningful beginning to the formal ministry that I exercise in this place,” he said.
The Charge was put to Bishop George by Youth Forum members Isaac and Maddie, but first, the two young people put questions to the Bishop around his journey in ministry and his role as Bishop.
In their Charge, they challenged Bishop George to continue to be radical in sharing the Gospel; to be a very public Christian leader in order to counter negative views on the Church held by many non-Christian young people; to equip young people in evangelism; to support young people to connect with other parishes; and to share his wisdom with them.
Bishop George responded that he was massively encouraged by this Charge. “The things that you have said to me are things that I have been thinking about,” he said.
In another break from tradition, Diocesan Youth Officer Christina Baillie invited the congregation to pick up their phones and connect to Menti, an online app. She encouraged young people to share their blessings for Bishop George, and these quickly started appearing on the big screen. Those watching at home on the YouTube livesteam were also able to take part.
‘Peace that passes all understanding’
‘Strength of character’
‘Praying for courage and strength as you go forward in this role’
‘God bless your family time’
‘Health and happiness’
‘That he would know God with him every step’
‘Courage to lead the diocese in faith over all the parishes of Connor’
Just some of the many, many blessings that scrolled on the screen, some read out by Christina, who thanked everyone for taking part. “That feels really powerful,” she said.
Praise was led by the Cathedral worship band, who sang 10,000 Reasons; This is Amazing Grace; Who You Say I am; Yet not I but through Christ in me; O Praise the Name of the Lord our God; and The Blessing.
The Readers were Maddie who read Galatians 5:13-18 and Lauren (Matthew 20:20-34), and Lucas and Ella led the prayers. The service was led by Dean Wright and the Rev Danielle McCullagh. Bishop George’s address was on the theme of the service: Called to Serve.
Afterwards, everyone was invited to the Cathedral Hall for hot dogs, cupcakes, s’mores and hot chocolate, and a chance to have their picture taken with the newly-installed Bishop in a special photo booth, before heading home ahead of Storm Franklin.
If you missed the service, you can catch up with it on YouTube.