Autumn in KEA

Summer has ended and what a season it has been. Things across Ireland and beyond opened up as some Covid restrictions were relaxed. People got fully vaccinated and were out and about, with many holidaying in Ireland. Temperatures hit record highs with a mini-heat wave in mid-July. Now it is autumn and as September begins, what is in store in the diocese?

This month, eight people from KEA will be ordained. This is extraordinary! Three:

Xanthe Pratt, John Addy and Adam Norris will be ordained deacon in Sligo Cathedral, on Sunday 5 September at 4pm. They will serve as Ordained Local Ministers in their local area.

Andrew Pierce will also be ordained deacon in Kilmore Cathedral on Sunday 12 September at 4pm. Andy will serve his diaconal year as an intern in the Lurgan (Virginia Group of Parishes), before his curacy next year. Albert Dawson, Steve Frost, Ed Smyth and Malcolm Young, will be ordained priests or presbyters on Sunday 19 September at St. George’s, Carrick-on- Shannon, at 4pm again to serve as Ordained Local Ministers in their local area.

All of these men and women have successfully completed their training for ordained ministry through: Queen’s University Belfast, Trinity College Dublin and the Church of Ireland Theological Institute. We congratulate them and commit ourselves to pray for and support them in their service of God and his people. Some seven years ago we aspired in our 20/20 Vision, to raise up and resource ministry for all in the diocese. This is being realised and we praise God for it.

Schools return after a welcome summer break for staff and students. Covid is still on the radar but hopefully schools will return to a more normal learning environment. We congratulate the Leaving Cert class of 2021, who had to endure many challenges in their final years in school. We pray for them as they embark on the next phase of their education and training. We are indebted to school staff who worked through the enormous difficulties of Covid to ensure our children and young people got the education they deserved.

Among the changes in schools we welcome Ms. Linda McMahon, Ms. Gail Young and Ms Chloe Nair as the new principals of Carbury NS (Sligo), Fairgreen NS (Belturbet) and Taunagh NS (Riverstown), respectively.

A diocese like ours is made up of people; people who matter to God and matter to us. We were saddened to learn of the death of Canon Sandra Lindsay, who passed away at the end of July. Canon Sandra and her late husband Cecil, served the diocese with great dedication and diligence. We offer our sympathy to her children and family. Elsewhere in this edition you will read a fitting tribute to Sandra by Canon Mark Lidwill.

Beth Mayes, wife of Bishop Michael Mayes, also died in early August. The Mayes were the last episcopal family to live in the old See House in Kilmore. After serving as Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh for seven years, Bishop Michael went on to become Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe in 2000, before retiring in 2008 to live in Cork. Again, we offer our sympathy to Bishop Michael and his family in their loss.

Lastly, we congratulate Sarah Taylor, our administrator, on the birth of a daughter in early August. Grace Lily Olive was born to Simon and Sarah and we rejoice with them and their families at this special time.

As temperatures fall, the light fades and the leaves change colour, we remind ourselves of the steadfast love of the Lord; a God who has remained faithful in the most difficult of times, a God who is to be praised. Harvest is a season to praise God together in church for all his goodness. Writing to God’s people who had endured the trauma of the exile in Babylon and returned home to Jerusalem, the prophet Zechariah, wrote these inspiring words,

“For there shall be a sowing of peace. The vine shall give its fruit, and the ground shall give its produce, and the heavens shall give their dew. I will cause the remnant of these people to possess all these things.” –  Zechariah 8:12.

+ Ferran