Welcome back to Gilnahirk

Delighted that the vacancy in our neighbouring parish has been filled – welcome (back!) to the area Revd. Ken McGrath. Thanks to all involved for a lovely service on Monday night. We wish Ken and Annette every blessing as they settle in to Gilnahirk 🙏

Welcome home Ken!

In a happy but unexpected return, Revd Ken McGrath has been introduced as Bishop’s Curate for Gilnahirk, the East Belfast parish where he was baptised and confirmed.

Ken’s introduction follows four years serving as Associate Vicar in Holywood and the Vicar of Holywood, Canon Gareth Harron, gave the address at the service on 2 May.

“I am delighted to be coming ‘home’ to the parish where my family have worshipped from its very inception and where I was introduced to and encouraged in my Christian faith, says Ken.

“I have many happy memories of growing up in St Dorothea’s. Actually, it was after reading the lesson at a service of Morning Prayer in my early teens that someone said to me, ‘You could be a minister someday young McGrath’!”  

“Annette and I are very glad to be joining the church family in Gilnahirk for this new chapter and together, leading the parish forward into what I believe will be a time of growth for us all.”

Ken McGrath

I was born and brought up in East Belfast and at the age of 13 gave my life to Christ at an Inter–Schools Camp in Donegal.

After Grosvenor High School I left Northern Ireland to study Human Biology at the University of Surrey, returning home to complete my PGCE at Queen’s. In 1983 I got my first job teaching Biology with Chemistry in Sullivan Upper School, Holywood.

In 1988 I married Annette and in 1991, God took us on our first adventure when we both left our jobs and moved to Nairobi, Kenya. I was vice–principal and later principal of a Christian school in the city and we worshipped in the Anglican Church of Kenya at Karen. We had a marvellous 5 years in Africa, during which time God answered our prayers for a family in the most unexpected way. Charlotte and John, whom we adopted as Kenyan babies, are now in their late twenties. Our daughter–in–law Hannah has joined the family and we are grandparents to Abigail.

We left Kenya in 1996 and settled in Coleraine where I became the first principal of North Coast Integrated College. It was during our time on the North Coast that I sensed a call to ordained ministry.

My curacy and first stint as a vicar, was in Lisburn Cathedral, and in 2009 I became incumbent of the Parish of Kilkeel. We moved to Holywood in 2018 where I spent four happy years as Associate Vicar.

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