Cathedral Appointments in KEA

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. The Diocese of Kilmore, Elphin and Ardagh has two cathedrals at Kilmore and Sligo. The present cathedral in Kilmore was opened in 1860 and replaced an earlier building which now serves as the parish hall. St. John’s Church in Sligo became the cathedral for Elphin and Ardagh in 1961. It replaced Elphin Cathedral which was severely damaged in a storm in February 1957 and subsequently demolished in 1964. The medieval cathedral in Ardagh ceased to be used in 1630. Thereafter, the cathedral in Elphin served both dioceses of Elphin and Ardagh until the transfer to Sligo sixty years ago.

Each cathedral is administered by a Dean on behalf of the Bishop. The administration team in a cathedral, known as a chapter, consists of Archdeacons and Prebendaries, more commonly known as Canons, an honorary title for a clergyperson. This month two new Archdeacons: Rev. Patrick Bamber for Elphin and Rev. Hazel Hicks for Ardagh will be installed at a service on 9th January in Sligo Cathedral at 4:30pm. At the same service three new Canons: Rev. Linda Frost, Rev. Andrew Ison and Rev. Christiaan Snell will also be installed. During the installation service Certificates in Theology validated by Queen’s University Belfast, will be awarded to: Rev. Albert Dawson, Rev. Stephen Frost, Rev. Adam Norris, and Rev. Edmund Smyth, on the completion of their Ordained Local Ministry studies.

Likewise, two new Canons: Rev. Ian Horner and Rev. Ruth West will be installed at a service
on 23rd January in Kilmore Cathedral at 4:30pm. Finally, a service of welcome will be held in
St. John’s Longford on 30th January at 4:30pm for the new Ardagh Archdeacon and Canons.

Virginia Group of Parishes Avenue of Light 2021

Once again the Virginia Group of Parishes have put up Christmas trees all through the church grounds of Lurgan Church, Virginia to create an Avenue of Light this Christmas 2021.

This wonderful community event is raising funds for four charities:

  1. Virginia Cancer Care
  2. Virginia St. Vincent de Paul
  3. UNICEF – Christmas Vaccine Appeal
  4. Lurgan Parish Church of Ireland

You can support this initiative on their gofundme page: https://www.gofundme.com/f/avenue-of-light-2021

 

Bishops’ Appeal Advent Newsletter

This newsletter highlights just some of the vital work Bishops’ Appeal has funded over the past year and the potential for even more good work to be achieved, with your help, in 2022. It focuses on less than a third of all projects funded throughout the year and so is but a snapshot of what has been achieved through Church of Ireland support. It is heartening to know that Church of Ireland generosity has brought so much relief and long term sustainable development amidst its own challenges and struggles of living through a Pandemic.

 

Mothers’ Union 16 Days of Activism against Gender based Violence

This Saturday the 27th November, the Mothers’ Union gathered in the Cathedral Church of St. Mary the Virgin and St. John the Baptist for a prayer vigil to mark a Global day in response to the call for 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence. 

The service in Sligo was an opportunity to join with Mothers’ Union groups across the world to champion the cause of justice and to offer up our prayers for all who are affected by abuse and violence.  During the service, three minutes of silence was held at 1:03. It is estimated that, globally, almost one in three women have been subject to intimate partner violence, non-partner sexual violence or both at least once in their life. The Mothers’ Union as a leading women’s organisation believe this disturbing figure to be unacceptable.

A prayer diary for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence and Abuse can be found HERE

Another service will be held on Saturday 4th December in Virginia Parish Church at 3pm.

Back Row left to right
Rev Richard Waller, KEA MU Diocesan Chaplain
Mayor of Sligo, Cllr Arthur Gibbons
Cllr Marie Casserly
Hazel Speares, KEA MU Diocesan President

Middle Row
Bishop Kevin Doran, Roman Catholic Bishop of Elphin
Marlet Hunter, KEA MU Social Policy Rep
Deputy Frank Feighan, TD

Front Row
Mary Geelan, KEA MU Faith and Policy Unit Co-Ordinator
Rev Jeremy Nicholl, Methodist Minister, Sligo
Canon Patrick Bamber, Calry Church of Ireland

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