From Knocknamuckley to parish in the Arctic

A FORMER Knocknamuckley rector has taken up a role as minister in the Arctic in a parish that covers four million square kilometres - 15 times the size of the UK.

Far from getting cold feet over the move to the coldest beat in the Anglican world, Darren McCartney is set to take up the position permanently.

Having left Knocknamuckley Rev McCartney was ordained as a Suffragan (Assistant) bishop in Iqaluit (population 6,699) in the world-famous Igloo-shaped Anglican St Jude’s Cathedral on the remote Baffin Island.

He was first ordained as a minister in the Arctic in 2004 and served in Pangnirtung (population 1,400) with his wife Karen before returning to Northern Ireland and Knocknamuckley where he has served for five years.

Rev McCartney describes it as a ‘wonderful wilderness’ where a priest can contemplate God without distraction.

His first sojourn to Baffin was as part of the Anglican Church’s Crosslinks missionary group, and he and his wife Karen thoroughly enjoyed their stay among the Inuits.

His predecessors would have got around the place by husky-drawn sledge but he will visit out-lying parishes by snow scooter and small aircraft.

Rev McCartney does read some Inukitut, language of the Inuits, but intends to learn to speak it so he can preach more persuasively to his flock. His daily equipment will include not only the usual chalice and stole but also a walkie-talkie and a hunting knife.