The Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev George Davison, has announced the appointment of two new Canons for the Cathedrals in Connor Diocese following the retirements of Canon George Graham and Canon David Humphries.
The Rev Amanda Adams, rector of the Grouped Parishes of Ballyrashane and Kildollagh, has been appointed to the Chapter of Christ Church Cathedral, Lisburn, and the Rev Tracey McRoberts MBE, rector of St Matthew’s, Belfast, has been appointed a Canon of the Cathedral Church of St Anne, Belfast.
Amanda is an economics graduate from Queen’s University Belfast and worked for the Inland Revenue all over Northern Ireland.
She began her studies at the Church of Ireland Theological College, Dublin, in 2003, and was ordained a deacon in June 2006, when she was appointed curate of St Patrick’s, Ballymena, before her institution as rector of Ballyrashane and Kildollagh in July 2009.
Amanda has been Transferor Representative on the Northern Education and Library Board and has been Church of Ireland Transferor Representative on the Board of the Education Authority, Northern Ireland, for the last nine years.
She also sits on a number of school governing bodies and is a member of Connor Diocesan Council. Her parish has been in partnership with Ibba Diocese in South Sudan for more than 10 years.
Ballyrashane and Kildollagh Parishes have formed a Rural Ministries Partnership with other parishes on the north coast, and during the summer, along with the Grouped Parishes of Ballintoy and Dunseverick with Rathlin Island and St Patrick’s, Coleraine, and St Andrew’s, Ballysally, Amanda and her team hosted Streetreach for Connor’s young people – with Streetreach returning in 2024.
Amanda grew up in the Lisburn area, attending Eglantine Parish Church and later St Paul’s, Lisburn.
“I was very surprised to be asked to be a Canon of Lisburn Cathedral and very humbled, it is such an honour,” said Amanda. “For once I was speechless, and I still can’t quite believe it.
“I truly feel that this honour is really the recognition of the efforts and unfailing support of so many people in the Grouped Parishes and beyond.”
Tracey worked as an office supervisor before studying for a BTh at Union Theological College, Belfast. She later did a PGCE which qualified her to teach RE at secondary school level. She was Church Co-ordinator at Orangefield Presbyterian where she was very involved in the new church building. Before she was selected for training for ordination in the Church of Ireland, Tracey worked in Ballymacarrett Group of Churches in East Belfast as ministry assistant.
During her two years training in Dublin, she completed a Master’s Degree in Leadership and Pastoral Care at All Hallows College and, following her ordination in 2009, she was curate at St Thomas’, Belfast.
She has been rector of St Matthew’s in the Shankill area of Belfast since 2012, and Rural Dean of Mid Belfast since March 2018. Earlier this year, Tracey received an MBE for services to the community in Belfast in the King’s Birthday Honours, specifically for her work in peacebuilding in the area.
Speaking of her appointment as a Canon of St Anne’s, Tracey said: “I am very shocked and humbled. It was not something I ever expected to happen. I just hope, like everyone else going into this position, I can be worthy of the role and can contribute to the life of the church and the diocese.”
As a Canon of Belfast Cathedral, she will become one of Black Santa’s helpers at Dean Stephen Forde’s annual Christmas sit-out for charities. “I will be happy to take that on, although I am not looking forward to the cold,” Tracey admitted.
Announcing the appointment of the two new Canons, Bishop George said: “The Rev Amanda Adams has demonstrated a deep commitment to the Church of Ireland at a variety of levels. She represented the Transferors Representative Council on the Education Authority for many years. She serves on Diocesan Council and is working co-operatively with neighbouring parishes to seek to do something new and innovative for young people in rural parishes on the north coast.
“The appointment of the Rev Tracey McRoberts to the Chapter of St Anne’s Cathedral is recognition of the commitment she has demonstrated to the life and witness of the Church in Mid Belfast. As well as her own parish commitments, she has worked tirelessly to provide oversight to a significant number of other churches in the Rural Deanery. I also recognise the significant contribution she has made towards ecumenical and community relationships in that part of Belfast.”
Dates for the Services of Installation of the new Canons in Lisburn Cathedral and Belfast Cathedral will be announced in due course.