The Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, Bishop of Meath and Kildare, has been elected Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland by the House of Bishops of the Church of Ireland, following the retirement of Archbishop Alan Harper on 30 September.
Making the announcement in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, the Archbishop designate said: ‘I would like first to express my sincere gratitude for the huge trust that my fellow-bishops have placed in me by appointing me to the Archbishopric of Armagh. I truly feel neither worthy of the heritage into which I am to enter nor adequate for the tasks that lie ahead. The God of Christian belief is, however, a God of grace rather than a god who looks for human self-sufficiency. All I can pledge is that I will give this task the very best of which I am capable, and the prayer of all of us must be that God in his grace will enable some good to come from this.’
He continued, ‘I know that my friends of Meath and Kildare will not need convincing that I will be deeply saddened to leave them after sixteen years of happiness and fulfilment among them, but I know also that I will remain in their prayers and retain their love and friendship. I thank them for all the generosity, kindness and support that they have given to me and to my family over those years.
‘I look forward to fresh challenges and joys, along with new friendships and discoveries, in the phase of ministry in the Gospel that now lies ahead, both in the Diocese of Armagh and within the wider fellowship of the Church of Ireland and beyond. Please pray for the Church of Ireland and for me in these weeks ahead as I prepare to take up this new responsibility.’