Ex-railway man is Belfast Dean
Published 09/06/2011 | 12:22
A former railway worker has been appointed as the new dean of Belfast Cathedral.
The Rev Canon John Mann, 56, succeeds Dr Houston McKelvey, who retired in March at St Anne's Church of Ireland.
He leaves his post as rector of St John's Parish in Malone. Before he was ordained he worked for the Isle of Man Railways on the vintage tramway.
"St Anne's Cathedral is one of the wonderful buildings of a city that I have come to love since arriving in Belfast as a raw undergraduate in 1973," he said.
"Since then through years of change and development and a great deal of suffering and division, we experience the vibrant life of a city whose heart beats through the hopes and dreams of a new generation.
"It is such a great responsibility to be offered the chance to share in this new life, whilst the Cathedral takes its part in carrying the pain that we know is the daily burden of many, as together a path is forged to find hope in a difficult economic climate."
He was born in Blackheath, south-east London. He was ordained a deacon in 1979 and a priest in 1981.
Mr Mann is married to nurse Helen and has a daughter, Rowan, and son David. He served the Diocese of Winchester, Hampshire in England as rector of the parishes of Bentworth, Shalden and Lasham from 1989 to 1993 before returning to Northern Ireland as rector of the parish of Cloughfern in Newtownabbey, County Antrim. He became rector in the Malone area of Belfast in 2002.
Mr Mann said he was looking forward to taking on the role of Belfast's Black Santa for the annual Christmas sit-out for charity.
"As Dean, I look forward to donning the black garb of the fourth in the line of clerical Santas, come December this year," he said. "These charitable collections fulfil a deep and real need and provide a lifeline for many."