Dean Houston McKelvey to retire

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image captionDean Houston McKelvey is to retire next April

The Church of Ireland dean of Belfast, Rev Houston McKelvey, has announced he is to retire next April.

Dean McKelvey told the congregation at St Anne's Cathedral of his decision on Sunday morning.

He has been dean of Belfast since June 2001.

The dean will commence his 10th annual sit-out for charities with members of the Cathedral Chapter on Thursday 16 December.

The so-called Black Santa sit-out was started in 1976 and has raised millions of pounds for different charities.

Dean McKelvey has said it "demonstrates the charitable nature of the overwhelming majority of people in this part of Ireland".

"To be the leader of the team organising the sit-out is a tremendous experience which is only surpassed by actually being at the receiving end of so much generosity.

"The experience is breath-taking both physically and spiritually. Charity is indeed the greatest of the Christian and human virtues," he said.

Prior to his appointment, Dean McKelvey was for 20 years the secretary to the Church of Ireland general synod board of education. Before that he was rector of St Hilda's, Seymour Hill.

During his time as dean, the Spire of Hope was erected, the positions of ecumenical canons were established and the partnership with St Peter's Cathedral strengthened.

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