The striking tower and spire of Newtownbreda Presbyterian Church – also known as St John's – is a familiar landmark in the Rosetta/Newtownbreda area of Belfast. On Friday 26 April 2013, with the church filled to capacity, its congregation had the pleasure of installing the Revd Anne Tolland as its new Minister, following the recent retirement of the Revd Wilfred Orr. Anne, who until her installation was Minister of Cairncastle, Co. Antrim, since 2001, is the first female Minister in charge of St John's, one of the largest congregations in the Presbyterian Church in Ireland to call a woman as Minister.
The Service of Installation was conducted by the Moderator of the Presbytery of South Belfast, the Revd Brian Hughes and its Clerk, Mr Cecil Graham. The 'Charge to the Congregation' was given by the Revd Tom Wilson while other members of the Presbytery Commission and the Ballynafeigh Clergy Fellowship participated in the service and the readings were taken by the Revd Fr. Paddy McKenna. Under the leadership of the Revd Wilfred Orr and the late Revd Pat Lowry, Newtownbreda Presbyterian Church has played a major role in the Ballynafeigh Clergy Fellowship – which consists of all the branches of the Christian faith in the Ormeau Road locality – over the past 40 years. It has been a sustained beacon for ecumenical activity throughout this period which encompassed many of the bleakest episodes of the city's recent history of inter-communal violence.
Clerk of Kirk Session, Sir Bruce Robinson said 'We are delighted to have our new minister, the Revd Anne Tolland, with us; it was a unanimous decision of the congregation to invite her here. Her ministry has been characterised by a deep Christian love and practical concern for people as was shown by the attendance this evening of friends from every congregation she has ever served in. We in Newtownbreda are delighted that the Ballynafeigh Clergy Fellowship by participating in the service are welcoming Anne to the Christian family on the Ormeau Road.'
The Revd Anne Tolland comes to Newtownbreda from Cairncastle (which was her first charge) with strong ecumenical experience as one of the leaders of the Coastal Clergy Group, an ecumenical group spanning Cairncastle, Glenarm and Carnlough, and she has been very involved in developing close links with the Church of Ireland, Roman Catholic and Non-Subscribing Presbyterian churches in that area. She was brought up in First Donegore, where her father was Minister, and attended Ballyclare High School. With an academic background in Microbiology and Genetics as well as Theology and Ecclesiastical History, and a qualification in teaching. Anne is also convenor of the Family Services Committee for the Presbyterian Board of Social Witness and a member of the Union Commission.
E-Mail: Anne or Tel: 028 9064 0178
Photographs of Anne's Installation