CIYD Day of Prayer 2021

Each year, the Church of Ireland Youth Department organises a Day of Prayer for Young People and Youth Ministry. Beginning this year, it is moving from the Sunday before Lent to the Sunday before Advent. This year, that is Sunday 21st November. For more information, see the Press Release below.

 

It would be wonderful if as many people as possible across the diocese could mark this day by praying (and encouraging others to pray) in some way, especially during Sunday worship. A few years ago, CIYD produced a booklet of relevant prayers and a pdf copy of this can be found online here. Feel free to use some of the prayers ‘as is’ or adapt them, or just use the booklet for inspiration as to particular topics and issues to pray about.

In the leadup to the last Day of Prayer, Damian Shorten recorded some videos (aimed at young people) about prayer and how to approach it. The playlist of all the videos can be found on YouTube at this link: https://tinyurl.com/3ks6s2a7. They may be helpful for people of all ages.

 

If you would like any specific help and support in marking this day personally or in your parish, please do not hesitate to contact Damian Shorten at d.shorten@dkea.ie.

 

From the Church of Ireland Press Office:

 ‘The Church of Ireland Youth Department’s annual Day of Prayer is on the move to the Sunday before Advent, which will this year be Sunday, 21st November.  It previously took place on the Sunday before Lent. CIYD is encouraging all churches to make a little space to pray for young people on that day.

Bishop Pat Storey, President of CIYD, says: “As our annual Day of Prayer moves to the Sunday before Advent each year, we remember that Advent is a time to prepare and to look forward. As we exit this pandemic, we will take time ahead of and during Advent to pray for our young people who have had their lives on hold for so long. We pray for their spiritual future and their unique contribution to the Church. We celebrate their commitment and enthusiasm. We long to meet together again and to connect.

“This Advent, our day of prayer for our young people and youth ministry thus holds special significance.  We bring them before God and we celebrate each one.  We pray; God hears!”

Simon Henry, CIYD’s National Youth Officer, adds: “Youth ministry has been mightily challenged over the past year and young people have missed out on so much.  This is an opportunity to bring them once again to the forefront of our thoughts and prayers.”’

Building Blocks Advent and Christmas Training – 18th Nov

Building Blocks Advent and Christmas Training

Building Blocks is running an evening online Advent and Christmas Training event on Thursday, 18th November, with a great pack that will help people hit the ground running this Christmas. 

Please see the summary in the flyer with booking details.

Visit www.facebook.com/BuildingBlocksConferences for all updates.

 

PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE: Synod 2021

» Download Synod Report

» Download Statement of Accounts


God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble Ps. 46:1

The Annual Meeting of the Diocesan Synod of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh took place this Saturday 16th October via Zoom Conference.  It is the second year in a row that we have been able to meet in person.

 

Presidential Address

In his Presidential Speech to the Synod, the Rt Revd Dr Ferran Glenfield noted the manner in which the past year has been dominated by the Covid-19 pandemic. Church life was disrupted by Covid restrictions – unable to meet in person for the first five months of 2021, Sunday and seasonal worship was conducted online. Bishop Ferran acknowledged the ingenuity of clergy and laity who enabled participation in worship and learning remotely. Likewise, he commended our clergy and lay pastors who conducted their pastoral ministry under very different circumstances and rules. Bishop Ferran said that Covid 19 has taken a heavy toll on people, parishes and the nation. We continue to look to Almighty God, our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble.

Bishop Ferran also payed tribute to the teams of people who have made it possible to return to church. He expressed hope that, as Covid restrictions are eased later this month, we would  be able to worship more fully and to use our halls and properties for parish and community activities. However, he noted that vigilance was still necessary to protect on another as winter approaches.

Bishop Ferran went on to highlight a number of items for the Synod’s consideration.

 

Welcoming the Balisodare Group of Parishes

At the beginning of November the Balisodare Group of Parishes will join the Diocese. At the same time the Diocese of Tuam, Killala and Achonry and the Diocese of Limerick and Killaloe will amalgamate.  He wished both Bishop Patrick Rook and Bishop Kenneth Kearon a happy retirement and the new Diocese God’s blessings as they come together.

 

Ordained Local Ministry

Bishop Ferran noted that the emergence of Ordained Local Ministry in the diocese is a real dividend for parishes. There are seven OLMs mostly active in Elphin and Ardagh. They are ministers in the fullest sense of the word. It is a ministry, authorised by the Church and for which training has been undertaken. It is a self-supporting ministry, no stipends are paid, although expenses are provided. It is a collaborative ministry. An OLM is part of a team of clergy and lay ministers overseen by a stipendiary minister. The ministry of an OLM is not simply about filling gaps but intended to expand the reach of the local church into the community. Bishop Ferran commended this ministry for support and prayers.

 

Schools

Bishop Ferran remarked that the life of our schools were deeply disturbed by Covid-19. He praised and thanked principals, teachers, support staff, board members and parents in their herculean efforts to deliver education to our children. He noted that our schools are places of learning, belonging and faith formation and are to be valued.

 

ReCentre Community Church

One of the positive outcomes of online church services and studies was that people outside of our parish community were able to join in. Our reach beyond the four walls was considerable. As Covid recedes we need to keep the balance between the inside and the outside. Jesus Christ is for all and he commissioned his church to reach the world beyond itself. One new church to gather online was ReCenter Community Church. ReCentre is now going to gather in person in Sligo under the leadership of Alan Williamson. It is what is known as a Fresh Expression of Church – something new which appeals to people who have no or little contact with the conventional church. This is the Diocese’s first step in this field and Bishop Ferran noted his gratitude for the partnership between Dear Arfon Williams, Rector of the Cathedral Group and Church Army, who sponsor Alan’s ministry.

 

Looking ahead

Looking ahead to 2022, Bishop Ferran noted a number of areas to prioritise:

  • The renewal of confidence, faith and hope in local churches.
  • The restoration of parish and diocesan finances.
  • The confirmation backlog and a review of our work with children and young people
  • The training of parish and diocesan readers.
  • The implementation of Safeguarding standards for children, young people and vulnerable adults.
  • The adoption of practical proposals to make our parishes more environmentally friendly.

In conclusion he noted that, while this past year has been one of frustration, there is much to be thankful for and much to do. God has been our rock and strength and he holds all the resources we require; we need to look to him.

 

Following the Presidential address, the Revd. Dr Andew Ison, Ryector of the Ballisodare Group of Parishes was invited to address the Diocese. Using the power of technology he was able to give the Synod a tour of the three churches that make up this group – Holy Trinity, Ballisodare, St Paul’s Church, Collooney & Emlaghfad Church, Ballymote. In his address to Synod, Revd. Andrew noted the close links of proximity, history and relationships that already exist. He thanked Bishop Patrick Rooke for facilitating the transfer and Bishop Ferran for so graciously welcoming the group of parishes. Bishop Ferran urged the Synod to embrace the Ballisodare Group into our Diocese and noted that he would be visiting the churches on the first Sunday in November.

 

In other Synod business, a motion to recreate the post of Archdeacon of Ardagh was passed.

ReCentre Community Church finds a home on Mail Coach Road, Sligo

On Sunday the 3rd October, a Service of Blessing was held for ReCentre Community Church at their new home on Mail Coach Road in Sligo. ReCentre Community Church is a partnership between Church Army and the Diocese of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh and aims to be a community that points people to Jesus, the one who can give us life to the full.

ReCenter Community Church has been meeting in some form or another, either in person or online for the past two and a half years. For the last month and a half they have been in and out of their new premises on Mail Coach Road, working hard at cleaning it out and painting it up ready for its new role in the community. In the 17th and 18th century news was brought into Sligo along the Mail Coach Road. It is a wonderfully appropriate location for a community of people who aim to use their words and actions to share the message of Jesus. A message for all the moments of life – the good as well as the bad.

At the service, Bishop Ferran Glenfield preached from Hebrews Chapter one. He said the ReCentre Community Church was something new, something fresh and something necessary.

Alan Williamson CA, who leads ReCentre community church says that the next while will be spent listening to God and listening to the community to discern what God’s plans are for the church. He is grateful for God’s timing and his provision of people and place.

We pray that God will richly bless all those involved in ReCentre Community Church as they endeavour to be a community with Christ at it’s centre.

 

Church of Ireland’s Mental Health Project Moves Forward

Call for mental health champions marks World Mental Health Day: Sunday (10th October)

Prayer and faith help to support good mental health but stigma around the issues involved still remains a major challenge, research carried out by the Church of Ireland has revealed. These are some of the key findings that have emerged from research undertaken by the MindMattersCOI project earlier this year, and the Church is now preparing to take practical steps to improve and support mental health literacy.

Over the past 12 months, MindMattersCOI has been listening to both clergy and lay members of the Church of Ireland to understand the Church’s attitudes and awareness towards mental health. Over 1,200 members and more than half of all clergy participated in this research.

On World Mental Health Day (Sunday, 10th October), the Church of Ireland is putting the call out for mental health champions to promote mental health literacy and help break down barriers created by stigma.

The Chairperson of the MindMattersCOI advisory group, Bishop Pat Storey, is urging people with an interest in mental health, whether personal or professional, to become involved in the project. She commented: “Improving mental health literacy is so important for us all. We need to understand how to maintain and support positive mental health amongst our friends, community and, in particular, our younger people. Recognising issues and talking about mental health helps to decrease stigma and remove barriers to seeking help.”

The MindMattersCOI project is supported by Allchurches Trust. Jeremy Noles, Head of Grants and Relationships for Allchurches Trust, said: “As we continue to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, there’s a renewed focus across the UK and Ireland on mental health and well-being, and the increased needs and issues in this area. We’re delighted that our funding can help bring greater awareness and hope, by extending the reach of MindMattersCOI. This will help many more people struggling with mental health issues to access support which could change their lives for the better.”

The research, the results of which will be available on the MindMattersCOI website –

https://mindmatters.ireland.anglican.org – in the coming weeks, also found that:

both members and clergy agreed that the Church of Ireland has a role to play in promoting positive mental health;
bishops note that they can provide the strong leadership required to effect positive and lasting change in relation to mental health attitudes and awareness;
96% of respondents felt that Covid-19 had had a significant impact on people’s mental health;
family, friends and other connections were identified as key contributors to positive mental health;
respondents reported that, although they have positive attitudes towards mental health issues, these still carry a significant level of stigma within the community;
in contrast to other studies among churches and other communities of faith, respondents did not identify clergy as a primary source of help in dealing with mental health issues; and
a significant number of clergy feel that the Church currently does not provide sufficient support for their mental health.

Based on the findings of the research, the next phase of the project will focus on improving mental health literacy. This is defined as:

  • understanding how to obtain and maintain positive mental health;
  • understanding mental health problems and their treatments;
  • decreasing stigma related to mental health problems; and
  • assisting people to seek help effectively.

The project is now calling for additional volunteers to get involved and become ambassadors for mental health in their parishes and wider communities. Thanks to the generous support of Allchurches Trust, there will be a wide variety of training on offer as well as funding available for local projects that support mental health literacy. Announcing Phase 2 of the project, Bishop Storey said: “We have listened to what you told us in the research and now we want you to get involved. We want you to join our movement for mental health literacy. There are opportunities for training and there is also seed funding for projects in parishes and dioceses.”

Although the MindMattersCOI project was conceived before the Covid pandemic, it is recognised that young people were among those most affected during successive lockdowns. The project is therefore carrying out an additional sub-study focusing exclusively on younger members of the Church of Ireland.

For more information and to sign up as a champion, please visit the MindMattersCOI website at https://mindmatters.ireland.anglican.org

The Lord Determines Our Steps – Bishop Ferran

A number of dates are featured in the October calendar. The first of these is 22 October, when according to the Irish Government’s roadmap out of Covid, many if not all of the restrictions currently in place will be lifted. The Northern Ireland Executive has already made their Covid plans known. The expected announcements in both parts of Ireland will hopefully bring clarity in many areas of our lives, including church life. It will be a great relief when the normal becomes a reality and we can return to life as we knew it in “before times.”

As always, we need to protect others and ourselves by being fully vaccinated and by observing basic hygiene standards, which shielded us during the worst days of the Covid pandemic.

The second of these dates sees the General Synod of the Church of Ireland meet at the beginning of the month. This year General Synod was due to take place in Armagh over three days. Usually over 30 lay and clerical representatives from Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh are in attendance. But once again Covid has disrupted the normal pattern of church life. So for the second year running, General Synod will take place online. Likewise, on 16 October our Diocesan Synod will take place not in Carrick-on-Shannon but online, which is a great disappointment. Diocesan Synod is one of the highlights of the church year when we come together to worship and conduct the business of the diocese. Again this is the second year that Covid has made it impossible for us to meet together in person.

At the start of the month, I will be attending the opening of a new initiative in Sligo. The Church Army Centre of Mission is moving from Drumcliffe into Sligo town. A former shop has been rented to act as a base for Recentre, a fresh expression of church led by Alan Williamson. Throughout the western world church attendance has declined in the past 50 years. The fresh expression movement is an attempt to do church in a fresh way and is aimed at those who have ‘given up’ or ignore traditional church as we know it. In late September, I attended the 200th anniversary celebrations of two of our churches: Ballintemple and Virginia in Kilmore Diocese. We celebrate the old and explore new ways of doing church, like Recentre. Both belong together.

In a diocese like ours people matter. So we were saddened to learn of Robert Thompson’s passing. Robbie was a former principal of Florencecourt Primary School and a stalwart of Killesher Parish in Co. Fermanagh. He served the diocese in different roles over many years.

We offer our sympathy to his family and church family alike. On a happier note, Simon and Sarah Taylor, had an early arrival, Grace, who was born in Dublin.  We offer our congratulations. Sarah has started her maternity leave and will be absent from her administrative role until April of next year. Ruth Smith, wife of Revd. Mark Smith of Kildrumferton, who is a qualified accountant, is going to help out with diocesan finances until Sarah returns to work.

I had the privilege of preaching at Revd. David Moses’ institution as rector of Newtownhamilton and Keady in Armagh diocese. It was heartening to see many parishioners from the Cootehill group in attendance to support David. We pray for David and Catherine as they take on this new ministry in South Armagh

In the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament, we read these words, “Many are the plans in the minds of people but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand” Proverbs 19:21.

My prayer is the plans and people I have outlined in this letter to you will serve God’s purposes in our lives, our church and our land.

+ Ferran 

Revd. Malcolm Young is Ordained Priest for Local Ministry in the Drumcliffe Group of Parishes

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

Malcolm Young has been working in the Drumcliffe Group of Parishes for nearly four years. Revd. Malcolm initially came to Drumcliffe to take on the role as Tourist Chaplain. Drumcliffe Church is one of the top tourist destinations in Sligo, or Ireland for that matter. It is the final resting place of the world famous poet W.B Yeats and is also the site of one of St Columba’s most influential monasteries. Pre-covid, the site was welcoming around 180 000 visitors annually.

In addition to his role as tourist chaplain, Revd. Malcolm also assisted the Rector with Sunday services as Diocesan Reader. During this time, he felt a strong call towards Ordained Ministry which has brought him to this point. His ministry in Drumcliffe still involves both roles. During the day, Revd. Malcolm welcomes increasing numbers of visitors to Drumcliffe, gives talks about the site and it’s rich history, offers prayer ministry and blessings. However, he is also very much involved in parish ministry in Drumcliffe, Lissadell and Munninane, the three parishes in the Group.

We pray for every blessing on Revd. Malcolm and his ministry to both the communities of the Drumcliffe Group and visitors from afar.

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.