Rev. David Houlton, now ministering in the North Riding of Yorkshire has been appointed to the Church of Ireland Parish of Conwal and Gartan.
The congregations at Letterkenny and Churchill were informed of the appointment during services on Sunday.
The new rector will be joined by his wife, the Rev. Ruth Houlton who has been serving a neighbouring rural community in Yorkshire since her ordination four years ago.
Rev Houlton replaces Rev. Stewart Wright who has retired from the active ministry.
A diocesan spokesman for Bishop James Good confirming the appointment said: “The bishop is pleased to announce that the Revd David Houlton, Vicar of Gargrave and Coniston Cold, in the Diocese of Leeds, has been nominated and has accepted the appointment of Rector of the parishes of Conwal and Gartan. The date for the Service of Institution has yet to be confirmed.
“Rev. David Houlton’s wife, the Rev. Heather Houlton, will also be moving here and the bishop hopes that she, too, will be involved in ministry in the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe.”
Born in the East Riding of Yorkshire, Rev. Houlton spent a number of years working in international business in four different countries while Ruth taught in universities.
They first got involved in a Church of England church in Belgium. They ended up living and working in four countries, including a year in rural France, before moved back to England.
David studied theology in Oxford and the couple are married since 1987.
Before moving to Gargrave they lived in college accommodation while Heather completed her studies to become ordained in June 2013.
Before that he was curate in urban Lancashire. He has served on the diocesan synods of Manchester, Bradford and more recently in the Leeds area and was formerly a lay representative on the Swiss Archdeaconry Synod of the Diocese in Europe. He has experience serving in ordained and lay roles in diverse contexts: from rural villages to inner city, from wealthy churches to those in areas of multiple deprivation; multi-ethnic settings in which interfaith dialogue was key; working with asylum seekers and immigrants; in England and abroad.
He points to the reality that Heather and himself have been migrants themselves; living and working in several countries for about 12 years in their previous professions.
Rev. Houlton has a love for the whole church of Jesus Christ and describes himself as a charismatic evangelical minister in more traditional parishes.
He publishes a monthly bulletin on his website, ‘A North Country Parson’ and is a reflection on life in the community and its way of life.
The couple are big pet lovers and have a dog, Sandy. David hold Family Pet Services in his local churches and says: “Pets are part of the family, aren’t they? And they help us understand how God thinks about us too. God wants us to feel part of His family and part of the wider human family. He wants us to know in our hearts that He feels about us a bit like we feel for our pets: that He cares for us; that He will be with us whatever happens; that we can trust Him.”Tags: