Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

New Dean seeks to draw a line under cathedral post row

Rev Canon John Mann

The new Dean of Belfast has called on people to draw a line under the past and to discover a vision for the future.

The Very Reverend John Mann also focused on difficulties faced by many in the economic crisis.

At his installation last night, he also referred indirectly to a bitter controversy over the Church of Ireland's decision to drop the post of director of music.

Last year five board members at St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast resigned over the decision.

At his installation last night, Rev Mann referred indirectly to the long and bitter controversy.

He described the cathedral as "both a source of blessing to others and also a place where, in recent times, discord and hurt have been experienced, some of it very public, some privately".

The Dean said hearts had been touched by the pain of division and insult, "perhaps on witnessing how fellow worshippers of God have forgotten themselves in their desire to make a point".

He added: "Most, if not all of us, sit here conscious of that fact, whether directly or indirectly.

"Who has not at some time, if not drawn directly into friction with others, has as a bystander felt tarnished by an uncomfortable atmosphere or an unpleasant position not of their making?"

Rev Mann said that in this tough financial climate many "have become a slave to their own circumstances and feel that indeed they are attempting to make bricks without straw".

"We should be conscious of the need to open doors where we can and work to relieve the needs of others."

Guests at the service included the Deputy Lord Mayor Ruth Patterson, Church of Ireland Primate Dr Alan Harper, Archbishop of Dublin Dr Michael Jackson, the Presbyterian Moderator Dr Ivan Patterson, Methodist President the Reverend Ian Henderson, and Catholic Bishop of Down and Connor Dr Noel Treanor.

Dean John Mann (56) was born in Blackheath, London, and educated in Romford before studying at Queen's University and the Church of Ireland Theological College.

He served in Northern Ireland from 1979 until 1989 when he went to Winchester. Four years later he returned and served as rector in Cloughfern and, from 2002, in Malone.

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