The Annual Meeting of the Diocesan Synod of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh took place this Saturday 14th October in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim. The day’s proceedings began with a celebration of Holy Communion in St George’s Church. In his sermon, based on the third chapter of Philippians,  Bishop Ferran Glenfield spoke of the Apostle Paul’s ambition and desire for the Greek church – that they know Jesus and make Jesus known.  He encouraged the congregation to keep focused on this goal and to put Jesus at the heart of all our relationships – our relationship with God and our relationships with one another and to deepen and develop these relationships by the Spirit. Following the service, the Synod moved to the nearby Bush Hotel to continue with the day’s proceedings.

At the beginning of his Presidental Address to the Synod, Bishop Ferran held a moment’s silence for Irene Graham, David Reilly and George Taylor.

In his address, the Bishop spoke of the many challenges the Diocese is facing – COVID 19 has adversely affected church attendance and there is a growth of nominalism in the church. There are strong financial currents of rocketing prices and high rates of borrowing which are a cause for concern. Globally, the threat of the climate crisis is real. The world’s atmosphere and oceans are heating up and we cannot dismiss the potential risks that arise from global warming.

Nevertheless, the Bishop’s address was full of encouragement. Although three church communities across our Diocese have closed in the wake of Covid, a new church community has arisen in the wake of the pandemic, ReCentre in Sligo which is taking steps to be a viable and sustainable community. It is a model which we in the Diocese and in the Church of Ireland need to embrace and encourage.

Despite the concerning financial outlook the Bishop commended the generosity of so many people who contribute to the life of the church. He also highlighted the, often unseen, work of organisations such as Protestant Aid and the various child-care societies across the Diocese whose interventions can be life changing for families and individuals who are struggling.

Bishop Ferran thanked all those hard at work in the diocese – in administration, finance and property, in safe-guarding, in parishes and on diocesan committees. This year, he particularly highlighted the work done by the principals, teachers, support staff and Boards of Management in the schools across the Diocese.  

Since our last Synod we have lost key people in the diocese – George Taylor, Evelyn Stafford and Dorothy Gillespie whose loss we mourn. Archdeacon Craig McCauley has also left the Diocese after two decades of exemplary work and is much missed. Bishop Ferran said the Diocese has an invaluable crew of clergy who care for people and preach the word of life by their words and lifestyle. Since last year’s Synod, we have welcomed two young clerics and their families to the ordained ministry – Revd. Sam Peilow and Revd. Luke Pratt. We are also greatly encouraged by those training for ordained ministry – Faith Sithole from Virginia and Joshua Pringle from Bailieborough. There are also currently around 20 readers currently in training under the tutelage of Revd. Nick Jones and we look forward to commissioning them for service in 2024.

Bishop Ferran, noted the signs of recovery in our engagement with children and young people in the Diocese. He particularly highlighted the reach of Youth Alpha in secondary schools in Longford and Sligo. He also noted that the Diocese is actively seeking a schools’ worker in Longford and a school chaplain in Cavan – two really positive developments.

In his address, Bishop Ferran spoke of the climate crisis reminding us that the biblical witness is that the earth is the Lord’s, not ours, nor future generations. He said that Christians should be at the forefront of caring for creation – real and sustainable change happens from the ground up and we should all be agents of that change.

Ending his address, Bishop Ferran noted that our Diocese is connected to people and lands far from our shore. He remarked on the mission trips to the Philippines and the DRC led this year by Revd. Steve Frost and Canon Patrick Bamber. He also noted that Sunday by Sunday and in our schools growing numbers of people from across the world have found a home with us. The Bishop rejoiced in this and said that it is lovely to see people from different places take roles in the life of the church.

Following the Presidential address, Synod heard greetings from the Bishop of Kilmore, Martin Hayes, who spoke on the Irish Catholic Church’s journey towards synodality, the importance of faith, reaching out to young people, being in touch with the real needs of people and of encouraging participation in the life of the church. The Bishop of Elphin, Kevin Doran spoke of the importance of introducing younger generations to Jesus and of the value of Christian Chaplaincy in carrying the message of the gospel to others. Bishop Paul Connell, who was attending the KEA Synod for the first time, mentioned the 100th anniversary of the Irish Council of Churches and the 50th anniversary of the Ballymascanlon Talks. He said that ecumenism works best when it is operating on the ground and thanked the Diocese for making St George’s available to St Mary’s during its refurbishment. Revd. David Clarke brought greetings from the Presbyterian Church in Sligo.

Ann Howard, the Mothers’ Union Diocesan President gave a wonderful report on the activities of the Mothers’ Union in the past year and encouraged parishes that do not currently have Mothers’ Union groups to get involved. Geoff Scargill spoke about the work of Protestant Aid, reminding those present that help is available to those who need it.

Revd. Ian Linton from the Church of Ireland Marriage council introduced a video on the work of the Marriage Council and informed the Synod of the supports and funding available for marriage support and enrichment. Hannah O’Neill gave an encouraging and challenging report on youth and children’s work in our Diocese. Rachael Murphy from the  Church of Ireland Board for Ministry with Children and Families highlighted some of the resources that they have made available. Stephen McElhinney from SAMS, Michael Briggs from Christian Aid, Linda Abwa from CMSI and Sean Copeland from Tearfund spoke of the work that their organisations are doing around the world.

The book of Diocesan Reports including a Statement of Accounts for the year ended 31st December 2022 is available HERE.

Bishop Ferran Glenfield’s Presidential Address in available HERE.

Looking after your mental health during difficult news events

As the present conflict in the Middle East continues, the following written prayers and remarks may be beneficial in responding in Christian faith and acknowledging our thoughts and emotions about what we see and hear in the news.  The first two are from our Book of Common Prayer:

A Prayer for the Peace of the World

Almighty God, from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed; Kindle, we pray thee, in every heart the true love of peace; and guide with thy pure and peaceable wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth; that in tranquillity thy kingdom may go forward, till the earth is filled with the knowledge of thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer for the Sick and Suffering

Heavenly Father, we pray for the sick and suffering. Help them to know your love that they may seek strength from you, and find peace and healing in your presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayers for Israel and Palestine

The Archbishop of Dublin and the Dublin and Glendalough Council for Mission, who maintain a close diocesan link with the Diocese of Jerusalem, have drawn together a resource for prayer and reflection which can be found and read here.

Related statements and articles

Looking after your mental health when difficult news breaks

The Mental Health Foundation has created some advice to help you cope and support your loved ones during these uncertain times, which has been shared and adapted by the MindMatters COI staff and the Church of Ireland Press Office.

When intense suffering is covered in the world news, it can affect our mental health. After learning about global events that cause uncertainty, you may feel fear, anxiety or a loss of control over your own life and plans. You may worry for the safety of strangers, loved ones or yourself. And if you have lived through similar events in the past, it may bring up traumatic memories.

Know that whatever you feel is valid.

Know that God (and others around you) cares about you and your mental health.

And know that you are not alone in this.

Staying informed – but being aware of your limits

Ask yourself – “How much information and difficult world news am I currently taking in? And how does it make me feel?”

If it’s having a negative effect on how you feel, try to:

  • take a short break from the news
  • mute or turn off news notifications on your smartphone
  • mute or unfollow social media accounts that are reporting on it
  • or limit your news intake to once a day

After you’ve had a break, ask yourself – “How do I feel now that I’ve had a space from the news?”

If you find that the break has helped, then try to continue:

  • to stay informed in bitesize portions
  • to take space from the news when you need to
  • to pause and check in on how you feel
  • to engage with different social media platforms based on how they make you feel

Over and above those, try to be intentional in how you are consuming news, and, as much as you can, avoid long ‘scrolling through’ sessions.

Try to accept that, although we may want to help or change the current situation, some of these things may be out of our control.

Seeking support in a community

If the uncertainty surrounding the news is bringing about feelings of fear and isolation, remember that there are always other people that are feeling the exact same way right now and that there are things that we can do to tackle this.

Something you can do to tackle these feelings is to connect with your local community. This can help you to feel more empowered, connected and less alone.

You can connect with your local community by:

  • getting involved in local volunteering opportunities
  • joining local groups working on issues that are important to you
  • joining a local social media group to connect with people in your local area

Humans are created and neurologically wired to connect with others. Helping others and engaging with our local community in a meaningful way is good for our mental health.

When talking with other people about world news, if a topic comes up which you disagree on, try to focus on active listening and respectful discussion. Being drawn into highly polarised or disrespectful conversations usually has an adverse effect on our wellbeing.  If a comment upsets you, try to take a break, pause the conversation and come back when you feel ready.

When you feel overwhelmed, try to reach out for support. There are people and organisations that want to help.  You may wish, for example, to talk to a friend, family member or your GP or to call a helpline such as the Samaritans.

You could also try to express how you are feeling through creativity. You could write in a journal, listen to a song, draw or dance. Express in a way that feels good for you. Try to stay with those activities for at least a few minutes to unlock their protective effects on your wellbeing.


Looking after your general mental health

Try to keep allocating time to things, activities and actions that are good for your mental health.

What works will be different for each person, so tune into what is right for you. Here are a few things to get your started. Try to:

  • have a healthy sleep routine
  • bring movement into your day
  • nourish your body and mind with healthy foods
  • spend quality time with friends, family and loved ones
  • connect with the natural world to help reduce stress and improve your mood

All of these can help you to feel better and to take your mind off the stress of the news cycle.

You can find out more about our MindMatters mental health awareness initiative on its website at

Thanks for supporting Habitat for Humanity’s Ukraine response

With your generous help, Bishops’ Appeal has been supporting Habitat for Humanity’s response to the war in Ukraine from the early days of the war.

We hope that this video, kindly provided by Habitat, will show the difference that your prayerful and practical support has made to families and individuals who are now building a new life.

Parishes are very welcome to show this video in services and other activities.  It can be downloaded from the following page on our Vimeo website:


Contact Details

Bishops’ Appeal is the Church of Ireland’s World Aid and Development Programme. It was set up by the Bishops of the Church in 1972 in response to the commands in the Bible to bring good news to the poor and relief to the suffering.

A registered charity in the Republic of Ireland (20019068) and in Northern Ireland (101325).

Church of Ireland Archbishops call for prayers for peace in the Holy Land

Archbishop John McDowell and Archbishop Michael Jackson have asked all members of the Church of Ireland to pray for peace in the Holy Land, following the outbreak of renewed conflict.  The Archbishops’ statement – provided in full below – accompanies the release of emergency humanitarian funds to our sister church in the immediate region, the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem:

The rapidly escalating and degenerating situation in Israel and Palestine awakens within us our deep compassion for our brothers and sisters of all faiths in the Land of the Holy One.  Where lives are lost through military attack and response, humanity in its entirety is diminished.  We all grieve.

The Patriarchs and Heads of Churches in Jerusalem have called for peace and justice amidst unfolding violence.  They have unequivocally condemned any acts that target civilians, regardless of their nationality, ethnicity or faith.  They have called on the international community to redouble its efforts to mediate a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land.

The Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal for World Aid and Development is releasing €10,000 (equivalent to £8,650) in emergency funds to the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.  The Diocese includes 7,000 Anglicans worshipping within 28 congregations in Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan.  It is responsible for more than 30 institutions, including hospitals, schools, clinics, rehabilitation centres, guesthouses, and retirement homes.  The Diocese runs Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza which provides medical care and support to all people, regardless of their faith or ethnicity.

We urge the people of the Church of Ireland to pray for peace in the Land of the Holy One and pray for wisdom for those in positions of authority to work towards an end to all violence.  We uphold to God in prayer all who are affected by the current conflict.  All human life is the gift of God.  The Church of Ireland, in its daily prayers, prays for people suffering in conflict, those who seek to bring care and relief, and the peace of the world.

A Prayer for the Peace of the World – from the Book of Common Prayer

Almighty God, from whom all thoughts of truth and peace proceed; Kindle, we pray thee, in every heart the true love of peace; and guide with thy pure and peaceable wisdom those who take counsel for the nations of the earth; that in tranquillity thy kingdom may go forward, till the earth is filled with the knowledge of thy love; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Libya appeal to help those whose lives have been devastated by the floods

Bishops’ Appeal for World Aid and Development has launched a disaster appeal in response to the catastrophic flooding in Libya. The floods, which were triggered by a Mediterranean storm, were focused on the city of Derna where almost 4,000 people are known to have died and over 9,000 are missing after torrents of rain and debris swept away entire districts. 

Some 37,000 people in flood-affected areas have been displaced by the storm. The huge number displaced highlights the immediate humanitarian need for survivors now (facing needs of clean water, food, shelter, utensils and clothing), and into the coming months and years (rebuilding, reuniting, finding a safe place to call home). 

Support on the ground 

This disaster has hit a country that already had a very complicated political situation, with power struggles leading to two opposing governments within Libya, and this has compounded the challenge of getting aid and support into the country. 

The Bishops’ Appeal will be channelling all funds through Christian Aid who are working with Dan Church Aid (DCA), its ACT Alliance partner, who have had an established presence in Libya since 2011, providing a confidence that those on the ground have a clear understanding of the situation and how money raised in our parishes can be used most effectively. We are grateful for the confidence that this gives us that all money raised will be used to benefit those in greatest need. 

DCA is providing medical support, helping to establish shelters to host homeless families, and distributing basic items such as blankets and bedding, sanitation and hygiene items and other essentials to these people who have lost everything. 

Endorsement from Archbishops 

Calling for support for the appeal, Archbishop John McDowell remarked: “I wish to thank those involved in Bishops’ Appeal for their prompt reaction in making this provision and would encourage the members of the Church of Ireland to continue to give generously.” 

Archbishop Michael Jackson added: “The plight of children, women and men in Libya is unthinkable. It is also a reality.  Members of the Church of Ireland working through Bishops’ Appeal have always been generous in responding to devastation and need.  I encourage you to pray for and to contribute to this appeal.” 

How you can help 

The Bishops’ Appeal has already released £10,000 in Emergency Aid from its reserves (currently equivalent to €11,500), and all monies raised by this appeal across the Church of Ireland will be additional funds to help with the disaster relief. 

Parishes are asked to collect funds for this appeal for the next few weeks, and send all donations directly to Bishops’ Appeal, Church of Ireland House, Rathmines, Dublin 6, D07 CF67. 

The Bishops’ Appeal is registered as a charity in Northern Ireland (101325) and in the Republic of Ireland (20019068), and those wishing to give with additional Gift Aid, or Tax Relief on gifts over €250, will find the relevant information – along with an option to give online – at this link:  

For further information about Dan Church Aid, please visit The ACT Alliance is a network of 146 church-based member organisations working in long-term development, advocacy and humanitarian assistance in 127 countries around the world. Readers can find out more about its website:  

Church of Ireland Church and Society Commission (CASC) Expressions of Interest Sought

The Honorary Secretaries of the General Synod are inviting members of the Church of Ireland who have relevant experience and who are willing to be considered for membership to submit expressions of interest, accompanied by an outline of particular skills or experience. A balance in membership is sought so that CASC will include various viewpoints and experiences within the make–up of the wider Church community.

The range of interests of CASC includes, but is not limited to, matters of social, political, environmental, economic and medical significance, where the Church of Ireland seeks to speak to contemporary issues from a Christian perspective. Recent initiatives include information on cost–of–living assistance and participation in a wider debate on homelessness as well as the more regular topics of responses to government consultations.

Members of CASC should be prepared to work proactively to produce comment, briefings, and statements, working in small teams, or to promote activity related to these headings within the life of the Church. CASC normally meets 4-5 times a year by Zoom, occasionally meeting in person in either Belfast or Dublin; however, if there is significant legislative activity, a particular group may find that its time commitment may be considerably increased while the issue remains current.

Media training is available to members of the Commission.

Please send expressions of interest by Tuesday, 31st October 2023, to Mrs Janet Maxwell, Church of Ireland House, Church Avenue, Rathmines, Dublin, D06 CF67, or by email to [email protected]

More information about CASC may be obtained from Janet (Tel: +353 1 4125 621) or from the Secretary to CASC, Mr Stuart Wilson (Tel: +353 1 4125 631).

On behalf of the Honorary Secretaries of the General Synod.

Cavan Christian Men’s Conference – 11th Nov

The Cavan Christian Men’s Conference is happening again on the 11th November this year. It’s an annual opportunity for Christian Men from across Cavan and Monaghan to get together to encourage one another. It is a morning of great Bible teaching, singing, food and a chance for men from across the region to spend time together. You can register for this event at

Webinar: The Lambeth Call on Environment and Sustainable Development

Anglican clergy and lay people from around the Anglican Communion are invited to attend a webinar about the Lambeth Call on the Environment and Sustainable Development.  This webinar will be taking place in two slots:

  • Wednesday, 20th September (6.00pm to 7.00pm BST)
  • Thursday, 21st September (6.00pm to 7.00pm BST)

Hear from Anglican friends around the world as they share inspiration from the Lambeth Call, which can be read in advance – in PDF format – at this link.

Through this webinar you can:

  • Explore ideas in the Lambeth Call for how Anglicans can respond to environmental crises and care for creation.
  • Access Bible study resources to help you think about creation care.
  • Hear how to get involved in the Communion Forest as a global act of hope. 
  • Find out how you can influence decision makers before COP28.

Who is speaking?

  • The Revd Jacynthia Murray – Anglican Indigenous Network, New Zealand
  • Archbishop Julio Murray Thompson – Chair of the Anglican Communion Environmental Network, Panama
  • Nicholas Pande – Anglican Alliance, Kenya
  • Amal Sarah – Co–Chair of the Advocacy Committee of the Anglican Communion Youth Network, Pakistan
  • Paulo Ueti – Anglican Communion Office and Anglican Alliance, Brazil

You’re welcome to register here if you’re interested in taking part in either webinar. 

The most recent Lambeth Conference was convened by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the summer of 2022.

Shared on behalf of the Anglican Communion Office

Mothers’ Union – Changing The Story Conferences

Next week Mothers’ Union host two ground breaking ‘Changing The Story ‘ Conferences. With 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men affected in Ireland, domestic abuse is endemic in our communities.

So often this issue has been brushed under the carpet.  ‘Changing The Story’ seeks to explore why and how we, as a church people, can work together to become safer and supportive compassionate communities.

Together with church leaders, partners and professionals, we are particularly pleased to welcome two well known keynote speakers in this field, Bekah Legg, Restored, and Rev Dr Helen Paynter, theologian and author.

The conferences are open to individuals and groups from all denominations and churches. Small steps make a difference –  let’s work together to change this story and create safe spaces for all.

Tickets are still available through Eventbrite …. book yours today……


Friday 15th September in Seagoe Parish Centre, Portadown, BT63 5HS

Saturday 16th September in Kilternan Parish Centre, Dublin, D18 ET99


Quotes from church leaders:

The home should be a place of safety, security and love and the very centre of family life.  Domestic abuse therefore attacks the very heart and essence of the family and should never be tolerated.  As Christians, and members of the wider Church family, we need to offer a safe place for those facing abuse, and offer them protection, understanding and unconditional love.’
Most Revd Dr Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh 2012-2020


 ‘How terrible must it be to be afraid when you hear a key in the door. How demoralising must it be to live your life in the home you have created against the dark background of control and belittlement. Yet, this is the reality in many homes across Ireland today as 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men live the terror of walking a journey with abuse.’

A civilised and compassionate society should do everything in its power to root out domestic abuse. And every Christian should help where they can.’
The Most Revd John McDowell, Archbishop of Armagh


‘Domestic abuse is all the more devastating because so often it is invisible except to the person who suffers and to the person who does violence to that person. The light goes out on life itself through the stripping out of personality, dignity and humanity itself. Domestic abuse is not an accident; it is a deliberate act of cruelty.’
The Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin & Glendalough


“One of the most important things that churches, and communities of faith can do is to stand up and speak out for justice and dignity for all.”
The Right Rev. Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

Revd. Xanthe Pratt to be Ordained Priest for Local Ministry in the Roscommon Group

This Sunday, 27th August, Revd. Xanthe Pratt will be ordained as a priest for local ministry in a service in Ballinlough Church, Co. Roscommon at 4pm. Revd. Xanthe was born in South-East London – her mother was from Kilkenny and a Catholic and her father was from London and was Church of England. Her father played the organ in the church she attended growing up. Xanthe studied Art in Sunderland where she met her husband, Chris (who was also studying Art) and they were married in 1971. They are both retired art teachers.

The couple moved to Ballyhaunis in Co. Mayo in 1973 when Chris became an Art teacher in the Convent and Boys College. They have five sons, Gabriel, Caleb, Adam, Luke and Seth. Their beloved son, Adam died tragically at the age of five and Caleb was diagnosed as Autistic at the age of four. They have six grandchildren. The accompanying photograph shows Revd. Xanthe with her whole family at a recent gathering in Sligo.

Revd. Xanthe has been a parishioner then Parish Reader, Diocesan Reader and now Deacon in Ballinlough parish church. She has been helping out for a very long time alongside Revd. Cecil Lindsay, Sandra Lindsay, Liz McElhenny and Ed Smyth. Her faith has grown slowly over time after much heartbreak and sadness. It is a belief in the ‘Light of the World’.

Speaking of her ordination, Revd. Xanthe says that “the love Christ came to give us all in saving us has been shown in the wonderful people we have met, and the friendships we have made from the time we made our home here. They continue to be such an inspiration to me and continue to this day. This  love – restorative and compassionate – has been instrumental in my decision to continue in my ministry”.

We remember Revd. Xanthe in your prayers and also her son Luke who will be introduced as curate in Drumcliffe the same day at morning.