The Church of Ireland is part of the worldwide Anglican Communion which has 70 million members in 164 countries. The Diocese of Connor, in the Province of Armagh, is one of 12 dioceses on the island of Ireland. Although small geographically, covering County Antrim and part of County Londonderry, Connor is one of the busiest and most populated dioceses in the Church of Ireland.
Covering 1,700 square miles, Connor Diocese encompasses the urban sprawl of north and west Belfast and the stunning rural landscape of the Antrim coast. A total of 77 parishes, unions or groups carry out a vibrant Christian ministry in these very diverse locations.
In 1842, the Diocese of Connor and the Diocese of Down and Dromore were a single entity, and it was not until 1945 that the two became separate dioceses. The Bishop at the time, the Rt Rev Charles King Irwin, chose to retain Connor.
Subsequent bishops have been Cyril Elliott (1956); Arthur Hamilton Butler (1969); William John McCappin (1981); Samuel Greenfield Poyntz (1987); James Moore (1995); Alan Harper (2002); Alan Abernethy (2007); and Bishop George Davison (2020).
Connor Diocese is divided into three Archdeaconries, each covering three rural deaneries. The Archdeaconry of Belfast covers the Rural Deaneries of North Belfast, Mid Belfast and South Belfast. The Archdeacon of Belfast is the Ven Barry Forde, Chaplain at Queen’s University Belfast.
The Archdeaconry of Connor covers the Rural Deaneries of Antrim, Derriaghy and Lisburn, and the Archdeacon of Connor is the Ven Dr Stephen McBride, vicar of Antrim.
The Archdeaconry of Dalriada, in the north of the diocese, covers the Rural Deaneries of Ballymena, Carrickfergus and Coleraine, and the Archdeacon of Dalriada is the Ven Paul Dundas, rector of Christ Church, Lisburn.
The Dean and Chapter of St Saviour, Connor, have their seats in the Cathedral of Christ Church, Lisburn. The Dean is the Very Rev Sam Wright.
While Christ Church Cathedral Lisburn is the Cathedral Church of Connor, the diocese shares St Anne’s Cathedral with the Diocese of Down and Dromore.
The Diocese of Connor is home to three universities – Queen’s University, Belfast; The University of Ulster at Coleraine and Jordanstown; and Stanmillis College. The diocese has University Chaplains active at each university.
The diocese has also chaplains in the many hospitals to be found within its geographical boundaries, and these chaplains are there to help in times of need and difficulty.
Connor is currently in partnership with the Diocese of Yei in South Sudan. The diocese has funded the building of a school in the rural village of Mongo, 16 miles from Yei town. A number of teams have visited Yei in the past and Bishop Hilary of Yei has been to Connor on a number of occasions. Visits to South Sudan are suspended at present due to the ongoing civil unrest there, but the diocese continues to support its friends in Yei both prayerfully and practically.
Through this website we endeavour to give you a flavour of the vibrant life and worship that goes on daily in Connor Diocese through the activities of our parishes, our people and our partners.