Popular Downpatrick minister to become new rector in Newry

Popular Downpatrick minister to become new rector in Newry

20 May 2020

DOWNPATRICK Church of Ireland minister the Rev Captain Scott McDonald is leaving to take up a new post in Newry.

Mr McDonald — who was appointed to succeed the Rev Stuart Burns at Down Parish and Hollymount Churches in 2016 — is to become the new rector at the grouped parishes of St Patrick and St Mary.

The hugely popular clergyman was the Diocesan Curate with the Lecale Area Mission Partnership (LAMP) ministerial team and was previously a Deacon Intern at the Parish of Willowfield in East Belfast.

He is married to Pauline, who works for the Belfast Health Trust, the couple have three children, Anna, Ceri and Daniel. 

While born in Cheltenham, Mr McDonald’s wife and children are all natives of Belfast. He came to Northern Ireland in the early 1990s to serve as a Church Army evangelist in the parish of Glencairn in the Greater Shankill area of west Belfast. 

After completing two years of training at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, he moved to Willowfield Parish in east Belfast as Deacon Intern and became an important part of the church family.

In a letter to parishioners in Down and Hollymount confirming that he was leaving, Mr McDonald said he had not applied for the post in Newry, but had been asked to take up the position by the new Bishop of Down and Dromore, the Rt Rev David McClay.

Mr McDonald said that after “prayerful consideration” he and his wife believe that they can “sense the call of God upon them”, with the minister agreeing to Bishop McClay’s request.

His letter continues: “My appointment as rector of the grouped parishes in Newry will bring to an end a prolonged period of vacancy and the position will involves helping to establish and subsequently lead a proposed Church Army Mission Centre within the city.”

Mr McDonald, who is not expected to move to Newry until at least the end of the summer, said he will continue to pray for his local parishioners as the threat of Covid-19 persists.