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County Down preacher who became Dean of Christchurch

The Very Reverend Lynda Patterson, who died suddenly after an illness earlier this year, was the Anglican Dean of Christchurch New Zealand and a native of Northern Ireland. She was 40.

The former Dean, Peter Beck, described her as "quite a 'taonga'"(a treasure, in Maori culture).

He added: "She was an amazing theologian, and probably the best preacher I have ever heard." The previous cathedral building in Christchurch was destroyed by an earthquake in 2011, and was replaced by the new Transitional Cathedral in Latimer Square Christchurch. It is the world's only cathedral made substantially of reinforced cardboard.

Dean Patterson was educated at Dromore Central Primary School and nearby Banbridge Academy, and later at Mansfield College, Oxford. She studied theology at Oxford and after graduation she lectured there for 12 years.

While on sabbatical leave in 2002, Dean Patterson first visited Christchurch, and three years later she went to live in New Zealand.

During her first year, which she spent in Auckland, she became acclimatized to the local culture and learned the Maori language.

She also studied for the ministry, and in 2006 she was appointed Director of Theology House in Merrivale. She also became an assistant to the then Dean of Christchurch Cathedral, the Very Reverend Peter Beck.

Two years later she became Theologian-in-Residence and was appointed Dean of Christchurch in November last - the first woman to hold that post.

Paying tribute to the life and work of Dean Patterson, the Bishop of Christchurch, the Rt Rev Victoria Matthews, said: "Lynda spoke of the God she loved in all that she did and said. She was highly-respected across the Diocese and Province, and we all benefited from her extraordinary preaching and teaching. She was also a great pastor who brought both compassion and appropriate humour to every situation."

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