Canon J. A. Brian Mayne

CANON Brian Mayne, who died on December 19 after a long illness, was a former Chancellor of Down Cathedral and rector of the Lecale Group of Church of Ireland parishes. He was 78.

Born in Belfast in 1934, he studied history at Queen’s University before training for ordination at Trinity College, Dublin. He served in a number of parishes on both sides of the border and was Dean of Waterford from 1980 until 1984 when he came to the Lecale area.

He took charge of the parishes of Ardglass, Dunsford, Ballyculter, Kilclief and Saul, as well as Down Cathedral. It was an onerous task, but one which was successful thanks to his outstanding organisational skills and strong personality. With the support of curates, lay readers and visiting clergy, he somehow managed to ensure that each congregation had its regular Sunday morning service.

Canon Mayne was blessed with a formidable intellect and took a great interest in Church of Ireland liturgy. He became a member of the Church’s Liturgical Advisory Committee in 1980 and served as its secretary from 1989 to 1999. He was a prolific writer and perhaps his finest achievement in this field was editing the Book of Common Prayer in 2004.

Canon Mayne’s funeral service was held in Down Cathedral on Sunday, December 23. Among the mourners were parishioners, friends and former colleagues, including Lord Eames, the retired Church of Ireland Primate and former Bishop of Down and Dromore.

The service was conducted by the Right Rev. Alan Abernethy, Bishop of Connor, who served as a curate in the Lecale Group under Canon Mayne in the 1980s. The prayers were read by the Right Rev. Edward Darling, former Bishop of Limerick, and the ure readings were read by the Rev. Brian Cadden, rector of Castlewellan and Kilcoo, and the Rev. Robert Jones, rector of St. John’s, Malone, a parish which was close to Canon Mayne’s heart.

The Right Rev. John McDowell, Bishop of Clogher, and the Very Rev. Henry Hull, Dean of Down, also took part in the service.

In his address, the Right Rev. Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and Dromore, paid tribute to Canon Mayne’s service to the church and described him as a “great, reliable and constant friend.”

He said Canon Mayne was a liturgist, a prolific writer, someone with an “amazing memory for people and the detail of their lives”, and someone with a worldwide network of friends.

Bishop Miller added: “But above all else, clear in all he has chosen for this service and in his life, Brian loved his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, served Jesus Christ, is redeemed by Jesus Christ, and is safely in the presence of Jesus Christ for all eternity.”

Canon Mayne was interred in Saul Parish churchyard. He is survived by his wife Valerie, daughters Barbara and Hilary, grandchildren Sophie and James, his sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Butler, and the family circle.

A service of thanksgiving for his life and ministry will be held later in the New Year.