Bishop’s Letter February 2022

February is with us with winter giving way to spring. The days are stretching out. Sunrise yesterday in Cavan was a glorious sight. The sky was bathed in a burnt orange glow. The clouds in the orange-coloured dawn warned that rain was on the way, as the well-known weather lore says: “Red sky in the morning, shepherd’s warning.” Just ahead of the rain came another glorious sight, a flight of around twenty swans above the roof of the See House. They were whooper swans with distinctive yellow beaks.

Whooper swans are one of the largest flying birds. Adults have wingspans over seven feet. Every autumn they fly from their breeding grounds in Iceland to winter in Ireland and Britain. They are attracted to the wet lands of Upper Lough Erne and Lough Oughter, often returning to the same fields year after year. Whoopers can live well into their twenties which is unusual in the bird world. The sight of them flying and making their distinctive trumpeting sound is a wonder to behold and cheered a winter’s day.

To date the winter has been unusually mild, but it could yet have a sting in the tail. Remember the so-called Beast from the East which sent bitterly cold winds then snow In February 2018, four years ago now. We have been so absorbed by Covid that the weather goes unnoticed to a large extent. Other things are on our minds.

The death of Lady Farnham, in late December was announced in the national and regional papers. Lady Farnham, who was ninety, served as a lady-in waiting to Queen Elizabeth for over thirty years. She accompanied the Queen on many engagements, including her historic visit to Ireland in 2011. A former press secretary to the Queen was quoted in The Times as saying that Lady Farnham was “a very glamorous figure with a wonderful sense of humour.”

Diana Gunnis, married Barry Maxwell, the 12thBaron Farnham in 1959. The Maxwells acquired land in Co. Cavan in the seventeenth century and in time became the largest landowners in the county The Farnham seat was just outside Cavan town. Lord and Lady  Farnham, divided their time between Cavan and London until Lord Farnham’s death in 2001. The following year, the House and Estate were sold to become the Farnham Estate and Golf resort. She is survived by two daughters and four grandchildren who live in England. Her remains are due to be laid in the family vault after a service in Kilmore Cathedral this month.

The Scriptures teach us that the seasons come and go and that people too, have their coming and going That’s just the way it is. The writer of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament, reminds us that there is a time and season for everything under heaven in chapter 3 and verses 1 to 8. Time waits for nobody. In verse 14 the author writes, “ I know that everything that God does will last forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it.”

In all the seasons and changes of life we look to God and find an anchor and firm footing in the unsteadiness of these times.

+Ferran

Church of Ireland Appoints New Children and Families Development Officer

The Church of Ireland has appointed Ms Rachael Murphy as its Children and Families Development Officer. Ms Murphy has worked in the youth and children’s sector for the past 27 years; in this role, which is a three-year appointment, she will be responsible for raising the profile of children and families ministry, training, supporting and developing resources.

Welcoming her appointment, Bishop George Davison remarked: “On behalf of the Church of Ireland Board for Ministry with Children and Families, I’m delighted to welcome Rachael Murphy to the role of Development Officer.  Her warm personality and wealth of experience will be great assets as we seek to develop the work of this new Board to resource and support the Church in its ministry with children and families.”

Rachael says: “I am both humbled and excited by the appointment in equal measure, as it brings together my love for children’s ministry and my passion to see families equipped and empowered.

“The past two years in particular have seen our families and children’s ministry come under great strain; it has required the Church to look for new and innovative ways to engage. As the saying goes ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ and there have been some fantastic ideas and programmes that have come forward during this time, so it is exciting now to see how the Church can further develop this vital ministry for God’s glory.

“There are so many amazing, dedicated and talented people who have been working tirelessly for God through this period and long before, reaching out to children and their families. It is my hope to raise the profile of this amazing ministry, to highlight the huge impact it has on church life and to support those who have given, and continue to give, so much of their time, skills and energy across the island of Ireland.”

Find out more about Children and Families Ministry at www.ireland.anglican.org/CFM or on our social media channels – Facebook at @churchofirelandchildrensministry and Instagram @coficfm

Explore Lent and Easter resources with the newly expanded Building Blocks team

Sign up and receive a training pack bursting with ideas for Lent and Easter.

Use these resources to support parishes, Sunday Clubs and families as we journey together, learning more and more about God’s incredible plan to make all things new.

Practitioners from around Ireland will share ideas that can be used in a variety of contexts. Creative Prayers, interactive stories, simple packs to spark children’s curiousity about Jesus and the Cross, family devotionals, 40 day challenges, outdoor activities and indoor prayer spaces of welcome and belonging where connection and faith together can flourish.

Don’t miss out!’

Two new Canons Installed in Kilmore Cathedral

Congratulations to Canon Ian Horner and Canon Ruth West who were installed as Prebendaries of St Fethlimidh’s Cathedral last Sunday night (23rd January 2022). Canon Ruth (from the Florencecourt Group of Parishes ) will serve as Prebendary of Drumlease and Canon Ian (from the Bailieborough Group of Parishes) will serve as Prebendary of Annnagh. The service was presided over by Bishop Ferran Glenfield and led by Dean Nigel Crossey. The Very Reverend Arfon Williams, Dean of the Cathedral Church of St. Mary and St. John, Sligo acted as Registrar.

The address at the service was given by the Archdeacon of Kilmore, the Ven. Craig McCauley who preached from 1st Corinthians chapter 12 and Luke chapter 4. In his sermon, he drew the congregation’s attention to the obvious fact that we are community of different people with different gifts, different talents and different backgrounds but are all part of a greater and more important whole. Whether, like Jesus, we are rejected or not we each have a vital part to play in proclaiming the good news of the risen Lord Jesus. He concluded his sermon with this prayer from an old hymn:

Day by day, dear Lord, of these three things I pray; to see thee more clearly, to love thee more dearly, to follow thee more nearly, day by day. Amen

We thank God for the newly installed Canons and pray that they may know God’s presence as they begin this new phase of their ministry.

Pictured above are the Chapter of Kilmore Cathedral: Canon Ian Horner, Canon Mark Lidwell, Archdeacon Craig McCauley, Bishop Ferran Glenfield, Dean Nigel Crossey, Canon Ruth West.

New Survey: Ethnic Diversity, Inclusion and Racial Justice in the Church of Ireland

A new survey seeks to gather the views of members of the Church of Ireland on ethnic diversity, inclusion and racial justice. The initiative of the Archbishop of Armagh and Primate of All Ireland, the Most Revd John McDowell, follows discussions with members and clergy and those serving in lay ministry from a wide range of ethnic backgrounds on the progress made within the Church on drawing on our rich diversity.

At the Church of Ireland’s most recent General Synod in September 2021, the Archbishop said: “It was a little troubling to hear about how we had not drawn anything like deeply enough on the rich diversity of backgrounds in our Church. The meeting had also helped me to understand how difficult it can be to be a person of colour on this island and even, at times, in our Church.”

The research now being carried out has been designed in collaboration with the group of ethnically diverse clergy and lay readers who have now met on a further occasion, and will, along with other strands, examine and make recommendations on how the Church of Ireland can become truly a place of welcome for those from every ethnic background, both lay and clergy. The research is led by Dr Lucy Michael of the Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough.

The Archbishop said: “Already in their discussions the group have also highlighted the positive experience of giving and receiving, but there is much we will need to do if we are to be the place which not only includes, but also celebrates, the God-given difference of the Catholic Church which we stand on our hind legs and proclaim ourselves to be in the words of the ancient Creeds, Sunday by Sunday.”

The Archbishop will publish and share the findings of the research and recommendations ahead of General Synod 2022.

All lay and clerical members of the Church are invited to give their views in this survey, which can be accessed at www.ireland.anglican.org/diversity-survey

Young Leaders in Ministry Fund – closing date 31st January 2022

As our teenagers and young adults look forward to a new year of youth ministry, the Church of Ireland Youth Department’s Young Leaders in Ministry Fund is once 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, 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, 31st January 2022, and application forms (in PDF format) can be downloaded at this link (https://www.ireland.anglican.org/cmsfiles/pdf/news/Press/2022/Young-Leaders-Application-Form-2022.pdf).

Please send all completed applications by post to: Young Leaders in Ministry Fund, CIYD, Church of Ireland House, 61–67 Donegall Street, Belfast, BT1 2QH, or by email to admin@ciyd.org

For any further information or questions please email simon@ciyd.org

Two new Archdeacons and three new Canons Installed in Elphin and Ardagh

This Sunday, the 9th of January, the Venerable Patrick Bamber and the Venerable Hazel Hicks were installed as Archdeacons of Elphin and Ardagh respectively at a service held in the Cathedral Church of St. Mary the Virgin and John the Baptist. Canon Linda Frost, Canon Andrew Ison and Canon Christiaan Snell were also installed as Prebendaries of the Cathedral at the same service.

The modern dioceses of the Church of Ireland, including Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh, were formed at the Synods of Rathbreasail in 1111 and Kells-Mellifont in 1152 and united in 1841.The two Diocese of Elphin and Ardagh were joined together in 1929 but, last year, the Diocesan Synod and the Standing Committee of the General Synod backed a proposal to separate the Dioceses once more. This created two separate Archdeacons for Elphin and Ardagh. It is, therefore, the first time in almost a century that Elphin and Ardagh will each have their own Archdeacons. A historic moment in the story of our Diocese!

Over the last decade the number of clergy, laypastors, parish groups and mission centres in the Diocese of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh has grown. Clergy, lay pastors, evangelists and parishes need good administration and resources to work effectively and so the installation of Hazel Hicks and Patrick Bamber in their new roles alongside the Archdeacon of Kilmore, the Ven. Craig McCauley is to be welcomed. Speaking of their appointment, Bishop Ferran Glenfield remarked that he believes that these three archdeaconries will become vital recovery vehicles for parishes and the diocese in the post-Covid landscape.

The address at the service was given by Archdeacon Craig McCauley who preached from Isaiah 43 and Acts Chapter 8. In his sermon, he spoke of a God who has changed history and has changed our history through Jesus Christ. He challenged the congregation saying that ‘we, in response to God’s grace, must ask how he can use our story, our circumstances, our words, our deeds, our actions, our skills, our passions, our jobs, our places of leisure, our prayers to potentially change stories around us by pointing others to Jesus’. He noted that although the new Canons and Archdeacons would be taking on new functional roles within the diocese they were to keep doing what they were already doing so well – pointing people and drawing people to Jesus.

The service also served as an opportunity to mark the achievements of our Ordained Local Ministers as they received their Certificates in Theology validated by Queens’ University Belfast. The Diocese congratulated Rev. Albert Dawson, Rev. Stephen Frost, Rev. Adam Norris, and Rev. Edmund Smyth, on the completion of their Ordained Local Ministry studies and is enormously grateful for all they bring to the Diocese.


The Cathedral Chapter of Elphin and Ardagh:
Back row (l-r): Canon Linda Frost and the Venerable Hazel Hicks (Archdeacon of Ardagh).
Centre (l-r) Canon Christiaan Snell, the Right Reverend Ferran Glenfield (The Bishop), Canon Edward Yendall, the Venerable Patrick Bamber (Archdeacon of Elphin)
Front (l-r): Canon Andrew Ison, Very Revd. Arfon Williams (Dean of the Cathedral Church)

 

2) OLM Graduates
(l-r) Revd. Adam Norris, Revd. Albert Dawson, Bishop Ferran Glenfield, Revd. Steve Frost, Revd. Edmud Smyth.

Bishop’s Letter January 2022

January looks both ways, backwards to the old year and forward to the new year.

Another year opens, covered with the Covid cloud which is proving hard to lift.

We are weary of Covid and want it consigned to the pages of history. It is difficult to plan anything with any degree of certainty. All we can do is watch and wait. The words watch and wait are often used by the psalmist in the Bible. They are there at the centre of Psalm 130,

“ I wait for the Lord,
my soul waits and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord,
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning”.

Verses 5 and 6

The words watch and wait in this Psalm add up to hope. And hope is connected in the Psalm with the image of watchmen, waiting through the night for the dawn. They know the dawn comes, there is no doubt about that. The psalmist’s and the Christian’s watching and waiting is based on the conviction that God is at work behind the scenes. Covid will pass, God will do it in his way and in his time. In the meantime, we watch, wait and pray for the post-Covid dawn to come.

In earlier announcements online, you will have read details of appointments to our two cathedrals: Kilmore and Sligo. Last year, the Diocesan Council, the Diocesan Synod and the Standing Committee of the General Synod backed a proposal to create two separate archdeacons for Elphin and Ardagh which had been joined together in 1929. The thinking behind the proposal was threefold: First, Geographical. It has always been difficult for one archdeacon to cover the ground that makes up Elphin and Ardagh: Sligo, Roscommon, Leitrim, Longford and part of Westmeath. Second, Historical. Our diocese is made up of three historic dioceses which have been in existence since the 12th Century and joined together in 1841. Third, Administration. In the past decade the number of clergy, lay pastors and parish groups and mission centres in the diocese has increased and administration has increased accordingly. Clergy, lay pastors, evangelists and parishes need good administration and resources to work effectively. Hence the need for two archdeacons in Elphin and Ardagh, alongside one in Kilmore.

 

Canon Patrick Bamber will become the Archdeacon of Elphin. He will oversee an archdeaconry consisting of Sligo Cathedral, Drumcliffe, Cloonclare, Calry, The Sligo Centre of Mission, Ballisodare, Riverstown and Boyle. Canon Hazel Hicks will be the Archdeacon of Ardagh. She will administer the archdeaconry made up of Ardagh, Longford, Roscommon, South Leitrim, Arva and Edgewothstown and Longford Methodist. Archdeacon Craig will continue to serve the archdeaconry of Kilmore consisting of Kilmore, Cavan, Virginia, Bailieborough, Drumgoon, Drung, Annagh, KIldrumferton, Kildallon, Killeshandra, Swanlinbar, Kinawley and Killesher. Do pray for Archdeacon Patrick and Archdeacon Hazel as they take up their new positions, joining Archdeacon Craig in these key roles in the diocese.  I do believe that these three archdeaconaries will become recovery vehicles for parishes and diocese in the post Covid landscape. And we have much to recover.

Towards the end of last year, we lost two people and a parish community.

Kathleen Richey, widow of Canon Robin Richey who was Diocesan Secretary from 1972 to 1998, was described as a ”force of nature.” She was deeply involved in her community of Blacklion and her parish Killinagh and was laid to rest in her native Fermanagh. Donald Walker from Lissadell , who was rooted in North Sligo, also died. A quiet and humble soul, Donald was one of the longest serving Diocesan Lay Readers until his retirement a few years ago. The few remaining parishioners of Aughavas, near Mohill, decided that their church should close. So there was a very fitting final service in the church which was deconsecrated.

People pass and we mourn their loss, church buildings, too, have their day and become places of memory. People and places matter to us and to God. In this New Year, I commend you to his love and care.

+ Ferran

Christmas Message from Bishop Ferran Glenfield 2021

Christmas comes in packages. Courier companies deliver packages to our doors. Some people book a hotel package for Christmas Day. Christmas parcels are wrapped in seasonal paper to be opened on the big day. Christmas comes in packages.

St. Luke packages the first Christmas story for us in his Gospel. He wants us to see, first, the coming of God to the world he created. Christ came at the time when Caesar Augustus ruled much of the known world. But for Luke the Roman Empire was only the backcloth to Christ’s coming. Jesus, not Caesar was the main man.

Secondly, Luke points to how God came to earth. He came in humility. Born to peasant parents in a rural backwater in Palestine. Born and nursed in a feeding trough in a bare stable. No pomp and circumstance in Luke’s story of the coming of Christ into the world.

Next, Luke highlights the announcement of Christ’s arrival. An angel is the herald. The news is good, the promised one is to be born in Bethlehem. He will deliver, for he comes as Saviour, what the world needs. He is for all, people then and people now, people like you and me.

Lastly, Luke sets before us the reaction to the coming of Jesus. Shepherds keeping watch over their flocks at night were the first to hear the news. Their response was immediate, they hurried down to Bethlehem, their clue was the feeding trough, just as the angel had said. Mary’s response was more reflective; she pondered all these things in her heart. The wonder of it all.

Luke’s package of the first Christmas story has been described as the most beautiful
gift ever given. Do take time to unwrap the gift of God and to receive Jesus with great
joy and wonder this Christmas.

I do hope and pray that we will be able to celebrate Christmas in our homes and in our churches with family, friends and strangers. May you have happy and blessed Christmas.

+ Ferran