LURGAN man Trevor Douglas is breaking new ground in his role as Development Officer in the Church of Ireland Diocese of Connor.
The move caused Trevor to bid a fond farewell to his position as Jethro Centre manager and he leaves behind a lasting legacy which he helped to establish.
His new role will be to support parishes throughout the largest diocese in the Church of Ireland, working alongside the Bishop of Connor, Rt Rev Alan Abernethy
The 51-year-old explained how the move came about. He said: “I was seconded (through CREED) to work with the Bishop for a couple of years in north Belfast.
“Then the dioceses decided to make the full time post which I got.
“The Bishop is a man of the highest standing within the Church of Ireland and a man of great integrity. I consider it an honour to be part of his personal staff.”
Trevor’s role involves advising on parish projects and development, facilitating training for leadership and team ministry and supporting strategic development across the diocese.
He commented: “Within the Church of Ireland this is quite a high profile job. Because it’s one of the first of its kind I’m not following anyone. It’s a developing job.
“Certainly within Belfast, particularly North Belfast, the focus would be on re-energising the local churches. New building projects are in the pipeline which will play a major role in the peace process.”
He added: “My job is to encourage and help churches engage with their local community - that’s at all levels including parochial and civic.
“It’s not just about finding fresh expressions of the church and new ways to do mission work, but it’s also to create links between the Church civic life.”
In 1991 Trevor helped to form the Shankill Parish Caring Association and was manager of the Jethro Centre for the past eight years.
He commented: “I’ve considered it a real privilege to work with men such Rev Ken Good, Rev Maurice Elliott and Cyril McIlhenny.
“I was there when we had the vision for the Jethro in 1991 and was privileged to be so directly involved with the Jethro Centre when it opened.
“We started to work from a blue hut at the back of St Andrew’s so it was born from very humble beginnings.”
Trevor oversaw the building of the Jethro Centre which opened in 2006 although his role as manager began in 2004.
He added: “Without the support of Jethro staff, volunteers and the community of Lurgan, the Jethro wouldn’t have had the success that is has.”
Trevor was also full of praise for St Peter’s and St Paul’s churches who have worked alongside Shankill Parish Caring Association on several projects.
The Lurgan man was treated to a surprise party to mark his departure from the Jethro Centre.
He said: “The staff were very kind and supportive and the team ethic which I helped to create is very strong.”
Before managing the Jethro Centre, Trevor, a past pupil of Banbridge Academy, ran his own business.
Trevor and his wife Karen, who works as a classroom assistant at Ceara School, have been married for 28 years.
They have two children - Laura (23) who is a qualified paediatric nurse and Joy (20) who is studying Early Years education at Stranmillis.
The Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, welcomed Trevor’s appointment, saying: “I am thrilled that Trevor is coming to work in the Diocese of Connor.
“His expertise, experience and people skills will be of immense value to us all as we look to the future and the development of Connor Diocese,” the Bishop said.
The staff and volunteers at the Jethro Centre wished Trevor all the best in his future role within the Diocese of Connor while extending a warm welcome to new centre manager Andrew Dunlop.