Archdeacon declines appointment as bishop of Meath and Kildare

Archdeacon Leslie Stevenson’s ‘positive concern’ for Church of Ireland prompts him to decline appointment

Archdeacon Leslie Stevenson: was due to be consecrated Church of Ireland bishop of Meath and Kildare on Wednesday. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Archdeacon Leslie Stevenson: was due to be consecrated Church of Ireland bishop of Meath and Kildare on Wednesday. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Mon, Apr 29, 2013, 06:00

Archdeacon Leslie Stevenson (54), who was due to be consecrated Church of Ireland bishop of Meath and Kildare in Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral on Wednesday, has announced that he is declining the appointment.

On January 28th last he was chosen by the Episcopal Electoral College for Meath and Kildare to succeed Archbishop Richard Clarke, following the latter’s election as Church of Ireland primate and Archbishop of Armagh last December.

On February 24th the Sunday Business P ost reported that the archdeacon, whose first marriage ended in divorce, had a relationship with a woman parishioner in the 1990s while rector at Donaghadee, Co Down. Following revelations about the affair he resigned from the parish in 1999 and undertook a period “of personal discipline”.

He was subsequently appointed rector of Portarlington in Co Laois and Archdeacon of Meath and Kildare diocese in 2009. He married his second wife, Ruth, in 1998.

He has confirmed that the relationship with this other woman did take place.

In a statement to the clergy of the Diocese of Meath and Kildare yesterday, he said: “I am honoured to have been elected bishop of Meath and Kildare and appreciate the support and goodwill offered to me by many people from the dioceses and the wider Church of Ireland over recent months. My positive concern for the church, to which I remain loyal, now leads me to decline the appointment.”