The Rev’d Andrea Cotter has been appointed Rector of the parishes of Leckpatrick and Dunnalong, succeeding Rev Canon Paul Whittaker, who retired last February. The announcement was made at services in both churches, this morning, and also in All Saints’, Clooney, where Rev’d Cotter has been serving as Curate-Assistant since her ordination as priest there two years ago.

The parishioners in her new parishes will have to wait until the springtime, though, to welcome the new incumbent and her husband, Richard. “It’ll be after Easter before we move to Leckpatrick,” she confirmed this morning. “I’m really looking forward to it. I know that ministry in rural Tyrone will be very different from an urban parish like Clooney, but the challenge excites me.

“The good news is we have an amazing story and message to proclaim,” Rev’d Cotter said, “and I can’t wait to share it with the congregations in St Patrick’s and St John’s — and in the wider communities in both parishes.

“Obviously, I’ll be sad to leave All Saints’. I’ve made many new friends there and I’ve been blessed to serve with Canon [David] McBeth. He has a great pastoral heart and I’ve learned so much from him. I look forward to putting all that teaching into practice as a Rector.”

Rev’d Cotter was born and baptised in Lisburn, and spent part of her childhood in Finaghy. A former Sunday School teacher, she attended St Patrick’s Church in Ballymena following her marriage to Richard.

Andrea hopes, through her ministry, to encourage people to use their gifts and build up the community of faith, and to reach out into the community to show Christ’s love and peace to all. She is “passionate”, she says, about encouraging young people to come and get involved in church life, and also feels strongly about hospitality and welcome in churches.