Rt Rev Andrew James Forster was ordained Bishop of Derry and Raphoe by the Archbishop of Armagh, Most Rev Dr Richard Clarke, at a Service of Consecration in St Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh on Sunday 8th December, 2019.
Prior to his election, Bishop Andrew had been Rector of Drumglass (Dungannon) in the Diocese of Armagh, since 2007, and Archdeacon of Ardboe since 2015. He had previously served as Rector of Drumcliffe and Archdeacon of Elphin and Ardagh, in the Diocese of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh (2002-2007); Church of Ireland Chaplain and Dean of Residence at Queen’s University Belfast (1995-2002); and Curate in Willowfield Parish Church, Belfast, in the Diocese of Down and Dromore (1992-1995).
The congregation at the Service of Consecration heard the preacher, Rev Canon Dr Maurice Elliott, the new bishop as “a larger-than-life personality with an infectious sense of humour”. Canon Elliott, who had known Bishop Andrew since their first day at Theological College, said: “He will bring an immense range of gifts and abilities to this new role. He is a man of deep conviction, yet he tempers this with an instinctive capacity to care.”
The preacher said he had never heard anyone express anything other than deep appreciation of every facet of Bishop Andrew’s ministry. “As a teacher, as a pastor, as an evangelist, as a leader, as an archdeacon, through his involvement in the structures of the General Synod and the Representative Body, Andrew has shown himself to be diligent, capable, faithful, popular and loving.”
Bishop Andrew is married to Heather and the couple have three grown-up children, Hannah, Patrick and Megan. The Bishop holds a BA (Honours) degree in Modern History from Queen’s University Belfast.