Albert Dawson is Ordained Priest for Local Ministry in Manorhamilton Group of Parishes

Congratulations to Revd. Albert Dawon who was ordained a priest for local ministry by Bishop Ferran Glenfield at a service in St St George’s, Carrick-on-Shannon on Sunday 19th September. Revd. Albert will be serving in the Manorhamilton Group of Parishes.

Revd. Albert has felt the calling to ordained ministry for many years. After he married his wife, Anne they lived in Dublin where he is from before moving to Limerick where he became involved in the parish of Kilmallock and Knockainey (now part of the Adare Union). He was commissioned as a Parish and Diocesan Reader during that time and regularly took Wednesday morning services in the Cathedral. Revd. Albert says he enjoyed taking services in the parishes and it was wonderful to be part of Cathedral worship. This was a busy period in his life with a young family as well as serving on the Diocesan Council and as Secretary to the Glebes Committee.

In 2000, Revd. Albert moved to Sligo to develop on-campus housing for a construction company. At this time, Revd. Albert and his wife started their own property management company and a tourism company. While they lived in Sligo they were involved in the Cathedral Group of Parishes.

Revd. Albert and his wife then moved to house they had built overlooking Glencar Lake and became involved in the Manorhamilton Group of Parishes. The parish appointed a part-time clergy person who would not be living in the parish and Bishop Ferran Glenfield asked Revd. Albert to help out. Revd. Albert says that ‘from that point on I was hooked’ and he delved into parish and diocesan life again. It was this experience that led to Revd. Albert’s ordination to local ministry.

Revd. Albert found training for the OLM ministry very interesting. He particularly, enjoyed sharing in faith and fellowship with people from all over Ireland as they learned together and supported each other on the journey.

The Manorhamilton Group of Parishes consists of six churches covering North Leitrim and into Co. Donegal. Likewise, the Diocese stretches from Cavan to Donegal, Fermanagh to Longford and Roscommon. This makes for an interesting and challenging ministry! Revd. Albert is also the diocesan representative for Bishops Appeal and sits on the Finance and Glebes Committees, Diocesan Synod and General Synod.

Speaking about his ministry Revd. Albert says; ‘I am looking forward to encouraging the parishioners in these challenging times, particularly as we come out of the restrictions, supporting parishioners who have lost loved ones during this time, developing and working with the parishioners in the long term future of the parishes, reaching out to the wider community and working with the local Priests and Ministers and most of all leading worship in our parishes which is a great privilege’.

Inbetween all this, Revd. Albert continues to run his property management and tourism business which was hard hit over the last eighteen months but is now beginning to recover. He is looking forward to travelling to various parts of the world again!

We pray for every blessing on Revd. Albert and his wife Anne as they continue their work in the Manorhamilton Group of Parishes.

Ed Smyth is Ordained Priest for Local Ministry in Roscommon Group of Parishes

Congratulations to Revd. Edmund Smyth who was ordained a priest for local ministry by Bishop Ferran Glenfield at a service in St St George’s, Carrick-on-Shannon on Sunday 19th September. Revd. Ed will be serving in the Roscommon Group of Parishes.

Speaking about his ordination Ed thanked the many people through the years for their many and varied outputs. He feels that though the tide is out in terms of faith at the moment, he believes that the recent saga of the covid crisis has at least awoken many people. He says that the privilege of ministry is the opportunity to share God’s word with God’s people and that ordination is the opportunity to continue sharing the story of the bible and the Good News of eternal life with the church and outsiders alike.

We continue to pray for Revd. Ed as he embarks on this next phase of ministry.

Steve Frost is Ordained Priest for Local Ministry in South Leitrim Group of Parishes

Congratulations to Revd. Stephen Frost who was ordained a priest for local ministry by Bishop Ferran Glenfield at a service in St St George’s, Carrick-on-Shannon on Sunday 19th September. Revd. Steve will be serving in the South Leitrim Group of Parishes working alongside his wife Linda, who is the Rector of the Group.

They have three children; the two girls are married and four grandchildren. As a couple they have been involved in different areas of Christian ministry throughout their married life. Speaking about the call to ministry he says;  ‘The course of my life was fixed when as a teenager I heard a missionary from Hong Kong speak on the ministry of Barnabus. Since then, the words from one of Wesley’s great hymns, “…Or if to serve Thy Church and Thee, my soul be offered up at last….”, remain written on my heart’. He has been involved with several overseas missions and in 2004 he established, ‘Love in Action Philippines’, a ministry working in the Philippines.

Up until January 2018, Revd. Steve worked as an ambulance paramedic and served as a Diocesan Reader. Following two heart attacks he had to retire from the ambulance service on health grounds. The new OLM (Ordained Local Minister) course was about to be launched, so he applied and was accepted. He says undertaking the course was an important part of his recovery as he discovered a new direction for my life.

Rather uniquely he will be serving in the South Leitrim Group as his wife’s curate. Revd. Linda is responsible for 10 churches spread over a wide area so he will be kept busy. Your prayerful support is much appreciated.

Enthronement of the Most Revd John McDowell as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland

The Most Revd John McDowell has been enthroned as Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland this evening (Tuesday, 14th September 2021) at St Patrick’s Cathedral, on the Hill of Armagh. Archbishop McDowell was elected to the office by the House of Bishops on 11th March 2020, having previously served as Bishop of Clogher since 2011. He took up his position on 28th April 2020.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Service of Enthronement for the new Archbishop unfortunately did not take place in 2020 and with the necessary restrictions earlier this year, plans for the service were put on hold.

In his sermon, Archbishop McDowell reflected on the Cross of Jesus and the true meaning of sacrifice. He remarked: “Any human relationship or political or social arrangement which does not allow the sacrifice of reciprocal self-giving room to flourish will ultimately crumble, because it is founded on falsehood. On a reef of sand. And that is so because sacrifice is at the heart of the nature of God, who made us in his image.”

The Archbishop was welcomed to the Cathedral by the Very Revd Shane Forster, Dean of Armagh. The Bible readings during the service were Numbers 21:4-9 by the Ven Elizabeth Cairns, Archdeacon of Ardboe, and John 3:13-17 by the Revd Dr Heather Morris, General Secretary of the Methodist Church in Ireland. Music was provided by the Choir of the Cathedral and the Revd Dr Peter Thompson, Assistant Organist.

The service was livestreamed at www.armagh.anglican.org and it is hoped that a much larger event, a liturgical welcome, for the Archbishop will be possible on a future date.

The full text of Archbishop McDowell’s sermon from the service is provided below:

May all the words that I say to you be spoken in the name of the Cross of Christ, our shame and our glory. Amen.

A Service of Enthronement usually marks the beginning of a Bishop’s ministry in his new Diocese, and in the case of the diocese of Armagh, as the Primate of All Ireland, in the Anglican obedience. That is manifestly not the case today, as I have been loitering in these precincts, persecuting clergy and parishes in this diocese, and trying my best not to wreck the RCB and the Standing Committee for nearly eighteen months now.

So, instead I thought I would say a word or two about (what is nowadays called) “the day that’s in it”. Holy Cross Day. The Cross. Not only the enduring sign of Christianity, but also its enduring substance. And I do so in the knowledge that the Cross may not be a benign or reassuring symbol to everyone, and also in the presence of an abbot whose house is under the patronage of the Holy Cross.

Holy Cross Day is not a red letter day in the Calendar of the Church of Ireland. It commemorates the dedication in 335, of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which was built over the supposed site of the crucifixion and the tomb of Jesus.

I don’t know about you, but It feels a bit odd to me to commemorate the Cross on its own, out of the context of Holy Week, and that full narrative of salvation history. In Holy Week our focus is on the tragedy of the Cross and the heartrending events of his last hours, when Our Lord was “extra-judicially executed on the majority recommendation of a corrupt committee of very religious people”. The emphasis of Holy Cross Day is a little different.

In early Christian art Jesus reigns from the Cross; only from the medieval period has he been shown suffering on it. And a fixation with that suffering can become morbid, as I think it comes very close to doing in many modern films and treatments of the life and death of Jesus. It cannot be without significance that those who witnessed the Cross of Jesus, and who have left us a witness of it in the New Testament, are very reticent about the gruesome details.

And there is no evidence in the Gospels to support Nietzsche’s notion that Christianity finds value in suffering in itself. As far as I can tell Jesus never once advised the diseased and troubled who flocked round him to reconcile themselves to their suffering. In fact he regards their sufferings as the work of Satan, and he releases them from it and heals them.

So, let us remember that it is the Cross of Jesus that we venerate today, not some generalised symbol. His life is consummated, not contradicted in the nature of his death.

The Cross of Jesus is unique in this sense. It is the only time in history when a sacrifice was also an atonement. When the sacrifice of the life offered was congruent with the reward it received. It is no longer the purity of doves and calves being offered (who are innocent only in the sense that moral concepts have no bearing on them). It is the offering of the blameless just on whose head a poisonous political aggression is now visited.

As for us, we plan our little heroisms and the Father is pleased to see them hung on the Cross of his Son, who he bowed to the ground, and to reward us far beyond the depth of our sacrifices.

So, following the imagery of the reading from Numbers and Jesus’ interpretation of it in the Gospel passage, the Cross of Jesus is something we turn to for life. Sacrifice in the Christian sense of mutual self-giving, concerns the flourishing of the self not its extinction. It involves a formidable release of energy and a turbulent journey from death to life.

In the foundational and continuing sacrament of baptism we are signed with the sign of the Cross; the sign of sacrifice. It is the sign with which we go out headfirst into the world. And we do so because the inner structure of love and of all fruitful relationships is sacrificial. We give ourselves to the beloved (whoever that may be) in order to possess ourselves more deeply.

Like baptism, sacrifice as mutual self-giving is not a single event; it is a passage that is never completed, that must always be resumed and prolonged. For once the word liminal is the correct one here. Sacrifice is the threshold situation that pervades all of life, that becomes the experience of our entire existence. No doubt that is what St Paul means when he talks about us dying every minute and what Jesus means when he refers to his death as his baptism.

All that we do, all of our human acts, have the quality of deathliness about them, as for good or ill they cannot be undone. And when I say “all our acts” I mean not only our religious or personal acts, but also our social, economic and political acts. Christ rules over the whole of life from the Cross. So, are our acts, acts of deathliness leading to life or are they more like the acts of the unequalled ego, deepening into the gloom of annihilation?

Sacrifice is not as it has been so often caricatured – some form of self-mutilation. In a relationship it is not the submission of a woman to a capricious tyrant of a husband or of a poor person to an unjust social system. Any human relationship or political or social arrangement which does not allow the sacrifice of reciprocal self-giving room to flourish will ultimately crumble, because it is founded on falsehood. On a reef of sand.

And that is so because sacrifice is at the heart of the nature of God, who made us in his image. Sometimes we express this politely (even decorously) such as in the Athanasian Creed, when we say of the Persons of the Trinity, that “none is afore or after other”. Sometimes with St Paul much, much more radically, as in Philippians when he points to a sacrifice at the heart of God, (taken before the worlds were made,) not to consider equality with God as something to be taken advantage of, but taking the form of a servant…”

And as St John points out in the Gospel reading, the servant not only came, but “…must be lifted up”. Must. Because God is what he is, the lifting up of His Son is inevitable, and glorious. The source of life.

The Cross interprets ourselves and the world to us. In a personal sense Jesus calls us to bear it with him, but to bear it as sons and daughters of the resurrection; in the mutuality of sacrifice. In the Church it is always present in the continuing sacrament of our initiation and is a standing rebuke throughout our lives to what are often the egotisms of our discipleship. In the political and social senses the faith of the Cross brings a disruptive energy to the spurious stability of any civilisation which claims to be just, but is merely complacent, yet also recognises the signs of the life of the Spirit and the Cross of Jesus wherever they are encountered.

Clung to by millions of dying men and women; the hope of millions more who live in violence and oppression; the Cross is the sign and agent of all human emancipation.

So, in finishing, if I could add a word or two to the Collect of the Day:

Almighty God, who in the passion of your Son made an instrument of death to be for us the means of life and peace: grant us so to glory in the Cross of Christ that we may gladly suffer for his sake; yet seek never to be a cause of suffering in others, also for his sake, who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen

Priorities Fund open for applications!

The Church of Ireland Priorities Fund is now open for applications!  Contributions to the fund come directly from Church of Ireland parishes and since its establishment in 1980 over €19 million (£16 million) has been distributed in grants.

The following categories are currently supported by the fund:

  • Training – lay and ordained;
  • Christian education;
  • Outreach initiatives; and
  • Innovative ministry in a rural context.

The Priorities Fund website – www.priorities.ireland.anglican.org – provides more detail about the above criteria, and applications can be completed online on the website.

The closing date for the receipt of completed applications is Sunday, 31st October 2021.

For any queries about the fund, please contact the Priorities Fund’s Administrator, Gordon Woods, at priorities@ireland.anglican.org or on 00 353 (0) 1 4125 636 or write to the Priorities Fund Office, Church of Ireland House, Church Avenue, Rathmines, Dublin 6, D06 CF47.

Andrew Pierce is Ordained Deacon

Congratulations to Revd. Andrew Pierce who was ordained Deacon by Bishop Ferran Glenfield at a service in St Fethlimidh’s Cathedral, Kilmore on Sunday 13th September. Revd. Andy will be serving as a deacon-intern in the Virginia Group of parishes (Billis, Killinkere, Lurgan and Munterconnaught).

Revd. Andy has previously been serving as a diocesan reader and as a parish reader in the Killeshandra Group of Parishes. He is married to Jackie, who runs the family business, J&B Hope Ltd, in Cavan, with their daughter Abigael.  Their son Forrest lives in Arva.  Andy has two daughters, Rebecca and Dana, living in the United States.  Jackie (nee Johnston) was from Billis, Virginia.

Fortunately, both college and parish life are slowly returning to normal and Andy is very much looking forward to learning from Archdeacon Craig McCauley and serving the people of the Virginia group.  He will live part time with Jackie’s parents, John and Sarah Johnston, in Billis.

The deacon-intern placement involves one week a month in class at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute across the school year.  On the other weeks he will spend Sundays and three weekdays in the parish.  Two days a week are to be dedicated to writing a dissertation to complete the Church of Ireland’s Master of Theology Programme.

Andy is looking forward to developing his preaching skills, to visiting and spending time with people in the parishes and generally learning the skills and disciplines needed to serve as a Curate and potentially as a rector.  He also enjoys working with his hands, canoeing on lakes and rivers, and reading books that help him understand the world from a Christian perspective.

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

 

Three new Candidates Ordained for Local Ministry in KEA Diocese

On Sunday evening, 5th September, Revd. John Addy, Revd. Adam Norris and Revd. Xanthe Pratt were ordained for local ministry in the Diocese of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh. The service, which took place in the Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin and St John the Baptist, was led by Rt. Revd. Ferran Glenfield, the Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh, assisted by Dean Arfon Williams. Revd. John and Revd. Adam will be serving as local ministers in the Sligo Cathedral Group. Revd. Xanthe will serve in Ballinlough, Co. Roscommon.

The address at the service was given by Canon Andrew Ison of the Balisodare Group of Parishes in Co. Sligo. With the retirements of Bishop Kearon and Bishop Rooke, the Ballisodare Group of Parishes will transfer from Achonry to the Elphin Diocese on the 1st November. We look forward to welcoming Canon Andrew and his family and the parishioners of the Ballisodare Group into our Diocesan family.

Youth Work News: Young Leaders in Ministry Fund

The Church of Ireland Youth Department’s Young Leaders in Ministry Fund is again open for applications.  The fund is open to young people aged between 15 and 25 years who can demonstrate a current involvement in the Church of Ireland.  It seeks to support training and development courses, mission teams, leadership opportunities and placements that can be shown to:

  • significantly develop the faith of the young adult applicant;
  • grow the skills of the applicant especially in, but not confined to, leadership skills; and
  • be of significant use to the ministry of the Church of Ireland in the 12 months following the completion of the opportunity.

The next closing date is Monday, 27th September 2021, and application forms can be downloaded at the links below.

Encouraging applications, National Youth Officer Simon Henry says: “The impact of Covid–19 on young people has been significant in many ways and as a Church we need to be continually supporting our young people in not just nurturing and growing their faith but also with opportunities to grow new skills and qualifications that will be of benefit to the Church of Ireland.

“CIYD’s Young Leaders in Ministry Fund aims to provide financial support to encourage more individuals from the Church of Ireland to undertake existing opportunities, both within and beyond the Church. This fund exists to grow young leaders, and as we look to a post–pandemic future, I would encourage clergy and youth leaders alike to direct their young people aged 15–25 to apply to this fund – whether it is for a youth work qualification, internship opportunity, or perhaps more local mission over the summer period and beyond.  The potential impact of this fund is huge and we have had a very encouraging response since the fund launched in 2019.”

Application form – PDF

Application form – Word document

Youth leaders are also reminded that the Keeping In Touch packs, which help to welcome young people back to in–person events, are still available for parishes across the island of Ireland.  Just click here to find out more and order your free pack.

Places are also still available on the Aurora training course for youth leaders in the Republic, which starts later this month and runs until next May.

Run the Parish raises over €6000

Over €6000 has been raised for church funds by the Revd. Christian Snell from Edgeworthstown Group of Parishes and the Longford Methodist Church. On Saturday 28th August, Revd. Christian along with friends and supporters ran or cycled a 45km route between Longford, Ballinalee, Granard, Streete and crossed the finish line in Edgeworthstown.

Revd. Christian has remarked that he is very appreciative to the many, in the parishes, community, friends and family who gave so generously to support the challenge on Go Fund Me.

There is still a chance to support this challenge at: https://gofund.me/ceb483bc