The Rector of Castledawson, Rev Colin Welsh, has been appointed a canon of St Columb’s Cathedral in Londonderry, succeeding Rev Canon Sam McVeigh, who retired in January.
The decision to appoint Rev Welsh to the Chapter of the Cathedral Church of St Columb was made by the Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, Rt Rev Andrew Forster, and first shared virtually, with Castledawson parishioners, in yesterday morning’s Service.
“I wanted Colin to take up this role because of all that he does not only in the parish but in the wider diocese,” Bishop Andrew said. “It’s an acknowledgement of his faithfulness, his ministry and his goodness.”
Rev Welsh, who is the rural dean for the Maghera and Kilrea Rural Deanery, said he was “flabbergasted” by the appointment, which, he said, had never been on his radar. “When the Bishop phoned, I had no notion what he was going to ask me. I was shocked, flabbergasted, humbled.”
Canon Welsh recalled an occasion from his past. “A colleague once suggested, ‘Maybe you’ll be a canon some day.’ ‘A canon?’ I said. ‘I’ll not even be a water pistol.'”
“I’m not deserving of this,” Canon Welsh said today, reacting to his appointment. “It’s nothing I’ve done. It’s to God’s glory, not mine. But I accept it willingly and humbly on behalf of my own wee congregation in Castledawson. They’re smashing people – one of the best parishes in the Diocese.”
The ongoing disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic means the date and nature of Canon Welsh’s Service of Installation have still to be finalised.