The Rev Ross Mungavin, youth pastor at St James’ Church, Gerrards Cross with Fulmer, Buckinghamshire, has been appointed Associate Minister for the South Belfast Inner Mission Area, Connor Diocese.
This is a new position. The Inner South Belfast Mission Area comprises the three parishes of St Aidan, St Mary Magdalene and St Simon with St Philip, all located in the Donegall Road / Donegall Pass area of South Belfast. St Aidan and St Mary Magdalene are formally grouped, but over the last number of years, each of the parishes has been under the care of different clergy on a part-time basis.
The new Associate Minister will be supported and overseen by the Archdeacon of Belfast, the Ven Barry Forde, as Priest-in-Charge of the Mission Area.
For Ross, this will be something of a homecoming. The 32-year-old grew up in Jordanstown. He was baptised and confirmed in St John’s Parish, Whitehouse, but came to faith through St Patrick’s Parish, Jordanstown, where he attended youth ministry.
A past pupil of Belfast High School, Ross began a Degree in Law with Criminology at the University of Ulster, but later switched to the Open University, graduating with a Degree in English Literature in 2015.
He worked as a classroom assistant at Ashfield Girls’ High School and in a daycare nursery in Ballyclare, before joining BCMS Crosslinks as a ministry apprentice where he served from 2011-2013, focusing on youth ministry and in particular summer camps.
Ross married Emma in 2011, and in 2013 they moved to St John’s, Downshire Hill, in Hampstead, where Ross worked in youth and children’s ministry for four years before he entered training for ordination at Oakhill College, North London.
Following ordination, in 2020 and in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown, Ross was appointed youth pastor in St James’, Gerrards Cross.
He and Emma have three boys, Ben aged eight, Alex aged six and three-year-old Tom. He said the family is looking forward to coming to Northern Ireland.
“When we moved to England it was always our plan to come home. We came to explore the working of churches and ordination training and were wondering where God wanted us to go next. We felt that should be back in Northern Ireland and South Belfast felt like the right place.
“We really are looking forward to coming and are excited to see what God wants us to do. It will be a challenging role, but I am looking forward to getting stuck in and to loving the people in the parishes.”
Outside of church and his family, Ross enjoys rugby. He formerly played for Instonians when in Belfast, and for Saracens Amateurs in England. He still takes to the field occasionally, but admits these days he mostly watches the game.
Ross will take up his new role in mid-2023.