Northern Ireland news

Former Alliance executive director to become Anglican priest

Gerry Lynch, who was executive director of the Alliance party from 2007 until 2010, is to become an Anglican priest. Picture from Facebook/Gerry Lynch
John Monaghan

A FORMER executive director of the Alliance party, who stood as a candidate for election to Westminster, is to become an Anglican priest.

Gerry Lynch, who worked as the party's executive director from 2007 until 2010, said he would begin training to become a Church of England priest next year.

A former pupil of St Malachy's College in Belfast, Mr Lynch is currently the communications director for the Church of England diocese of Salisbury.

In a tweet posted on Friday, Mr Lynch wrote: "The Church of England has recommended me for training for ordination as a priest. Starting training Sep 2018."

Within hours of the post on Twitter and Facebook, Mr Lynch had received dozens of congratulatory messages, with one stating: "Really delighted to hear that, Gerry. You will make a fantastic priest."

During a gap year from his politics studies at Queen's University, Mr Lynch worked for Alliance as an office assistant in the talks period that led to the Good Friday Agreement.

After spending seven years working in senior policy roles across different UK government departments in Whitehall, the Belfast man returned to Northern Ireland in 2007 following the restoration of devolution to take up the post of executive director of the Alliance party.

He stood as the Alliance candidate in the East Antrim constituency in the Westminster election of 2010.

For five years, Mr Lynch was also vice-chairman of Changing Attitude Ireland, which campaigns for the full "affirmation" of lesbian, gay and transgender people within the churches in Ireland.

Training to become a priest in the Church of England usually lasts between two to three years, depending on age, prior learning and experience.

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