This week yKea has hosted, not two as in previous years, but three School’s Services of Harvest Thanksgiving. Cavan Parish church hosted pupils attending national school in Kilmore, St John’s Cathedral, Sligo hosted pupils and teachers in Elphin and St John’s Church Longford hosted schools in Ardagh. It is wonderful to see how these services have grown in a few years.
This year Damien Shorten was joined by Erin Moorcroft (our CMS Australia mission partner) and Alan Williamson (Church Army Evangelist with the Drumcliffe Centre for Mission) for a fantastically fun-filled service which saw Bishop Ferran do battle with a mysterious caped superhero armed with a super soaker. Within all the laughter, music and a little splashing all those who attended were with left with a strong message that Jesus is a mighty rescuer who conquered death and paid the price for our sins to bring us to God.
The Longford Group of Parishes wish to appoint a minister in charge with the opportunity to become the Rector.
The Longford Group of Parishes comprise of five churches. These churches are represented by three vestries: Ballymacormack & Killashee, Newtownforbes & Clooncumber, and Templemichael (Longford). The parishes consist of a balanced combination of urban and rural settings. The Rectory is located in Longford Town.
County Longford is located in the heart of Ireland and is easily accessible on major road and rail routes: Dublin 124km, Galway 135km, Belfast 191km, Cork 255km.
Longford is a vibrant and developing county, with many large enterprises choosing to locate there in recent years, including Abbott Diagnostics, Irish Prison Services, Green Isle, Center Parcs. Longford boasts a beautiful landscape and many amenities for both young and old. The River Shannon marks the county border between Longford and Roscommon, and the River Inny and the Royal Canal run through Co. Longford with many picturesque villages located on their banks.
The people of Longford embrace a wonderful sense of community with many ecumenical events across the parishes. The Longford Group of Parishes frequently hold community events such as musical events, Cruthu Arts Festival, Heritage Week and flower festivals. These events are very well received by the wider community.
St. John’s National School serves the group of parishes. There are many secondary schools in the area, with Wilson’s Hospital School, Cavan Royal School, and Sligo Grammar School nearby. Athlone Institute of Technology is also close by.
Mullagh Church of Ireland in the diocese of Kilmore celebrated its Bicentenary Anniversary on Sunday 15th September 2019 with a Harvest Thanksgiving of praise. The picturesque church on the edge of Mullagh lake was packed full as we gathered together as a parish and as a community to celebrate this special milestone. The service was led by the current rector – Rev. Ian Horner and the lesson was read by Norman Shekleton. Special music guests for the day were the fantastic Belturbet Church Praise band, directed by Rev. Tanya Woods, who lead the worship. The guest preacher was the Rt. Rev. Dr. Ferran Glenfield, Bishop of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh who spoke from Acts 2 about the unchanging mission of the church to spread the gospel message far and wide. Following the address Valerie Shekleton led the congregation in prayers of intercession and thanksgiving.
After the service a delicious tea was served in St. Killian’s Heritage Centre. It was a lovely occasion to see friends old and new as we gathered to give thanks for the life and witness of Mullagh Parish Church over the past 200 years. We look forward to being part of God’s ongoing work in this community.
Applications for the Church of Ireland Priorities Fund are now open. The aim of this fund is to support lay and ordained training, Christian education, outreach initiatives and innovative ministry in a rural context. The deadline for applications in the 31st October and more information can be found at https://priorities.ireland.anglican.org/criteria
This Autumn, from 22nd September to 6th Ocotober the Diocese of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh will be holding a diocesan-wide harvest celebration entitled ‘Gathered In’. Gathered In will involve harvest services in our parish churches and a variety of events based on harvest themes. Each parish group has been invited to take part in Gathered In. Preachers, singers and guests will join us from across Ireland and Britain as we seek to Gather in the Lord’s Harvest. Ultimately this is God’s work but we have the privilege of being partners with him.
Canon David Catterall, Rector of the Longford group of parishes has retired at the end of July after 17 years of service in the parish. David, a scientist by training, prepared for the ordained ministry in Cranmer Hall, Durham in England. He was ordained 40 years ago and served in a number of curacies in Manchester. He then moved to Ireland in 1988 becoming rector of the Fanlobus group of parishes based around Dunmanway in West Cork.
Bishop Ferran writes, ‘I first came across David and his wife Janet while serving in Cork Diocese together almost 30 years ago. David is a most diligent priest whose ministry has been characterised by Christ-like care and compassion. I have spent many dinner times with David, Janet and their family enjoying food and putting the world to right!’
David then became Warden of the Church’s Ministry of Healing which took him across much of Ireland. His wife Janet became the incumbent of the Drung group of parishes in Cavan, which was their introduction to KEA. David became rector of Longford in 2002 and Janet took the neighbouring Mostrim group the same year. David has been Prebendary of Oran in Sligo Cathedral since 2008 and Janet was Prebendary of Mulhuddart in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin from 2005 until her retirement in 2016.
The Catteralls are not moving far, retiring in Longford town. Two of their adult children live in the vicinity and the other is raising a family in the United States.
We wish David God’s richest blessing as he retires from a lifetime of active service. We thank God for David and Janet and pray that they may enjoy rest from their labours.
This July, Alan Williamson was among six people admitted and commissioned as a Church Army Evangelists by Bishop Jo Bailey-Wells, the Bishop of Dorkin at the Wilson Carlile Centre in Sheffield.
Alan has been working as a Pioneer Evangelist with the Drumcliffe Centre of Mission since its establishment in September 2017. Church Army was established in 1882 by Wilson Carlile with a vision to train ordinary Christian men and women to reach those most in need with the gospel. Church Army currently have three centres on the island of Ireland with plans to establish more. Its vision is for everyone, everywhere to encounter God’s love and be empowered to transform their communities through faith shared in words and action.
Speaking of his work with Church Army Alan says, “I love the fact that my work allows me the privilege of sharing God’s love in a place that I feel truly called. My heart is so encouraged when I seen local people being resourced to share faith in ordinary ways for extraordinary outcomes. To invest and rise up leaders from amongst our nation who have a heart for this land and a heart to share faith well on this land”.
We pray for every blessing on Alan and his family as he continues this exciting work in Sligo.
Ms Maud Cunningham
Mrs Sarah Taylor
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The Church of Ireland, as an authentic part of the universal church of God, is called to develop growing communities of faith, in and through which the Kingdom of God is made known, and in which the whole people serve together as followers of Jesus Christ for the good of the world to the Glory of God.