C of I News

Rathmullan Abbey book launch, Portadown carols, Comedy in Greenisland, Bishop of Egypt’s visit, Clergy retirement, Cork Installation, Obituary – Rev RH Boyd

Rathmullan Abbey book launch

A new book on the history of the Abbey in Rathmullan will be launched on Saturday.
Rathmullan History Society has published a book which is researched and written by Patricia Deeney and edited by Margaret Carton. The Book will be launched on Saturday, November 12 at 2.30pm in the Conference Room of Rathmullan House, by Dr. Ken Good, Bishop of Derry and Raphoe. Other speakers will contribute to the presentation. Books will be on sale at the event price at €10.Refreshments will be served and everyone welcome.

Carol event at St Mark’s, Portadown

Programmes are now available for the eagerly-awaited annual ‘Christmas Carols from St Mark’s’ event which takes place on Friday, December 2.

It combines the sounds of Portadown Ladies Choir and Portadown Male Voice Choir – conductor Gordon Speers – and, as ever, features excerpts from Handel’s Messiah and a selection of carols.

They will be accompanied by organist Richard Campbell, who will also play a couple of solos during the evening.

The special guest this year is talented young tenor John Porter from Lifford County Donegal, who is making a name for himself in the cultural scene of Ireland and is in big demand over the Christmas period as soloist in various productions of The Messiah.
He was one of five young singers recently selected to sing in a competition by NI Opera, the prize being £2,000 and a chance to perform alongside Dame Kiri Te Kanawa in the Belfast festival.

Items from the combined choirs include John Rutter’s Angel Carol and the ever-popular O Holy Night, and the audience will be joining in well-loved carols like While Shepherds Watched and See Amid the Winter Snow.

The programme subscription is £8 and they can be had from the Portadown Times office in Church Street, Winnie’e Newsagents in Woodhouse Street, Wray Cleaners in Edward Street, and Gordon Speers Carpets in Bridge Street. Programmes will also be available at the door on the night.

Comedy in Greenisland

Greenisland Parish, Connor, hosted a new play written by and starring Give My Head Peace actor Dan Gordon. Staged in the Church Parish Centre for one night only, The Boat Factory took a nostalgic look back at life in the Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast. The comedy has already has a successful run over the past few weeks after kicking off at the Belfast Festival at Queen’s in October.

Bishop of Egypt visits Northern Ireland – Amended Press Release

CMSI has issued this  second amended press release: The Most Rev Dr Mouneer Anis, President Bishop of Jerusalem and the Middle East and Bishop of the Diocese of Egypt, will be in Northern Ireland next week on a short visit hosted by the Church Mission Society, Ireland.

Dr Anis, who has served as Bishop of Egypt since 2000, is the guest speaker at a CMS Ireland Focus Event at St Mark’s Parish Halls, Newtownards, on Thursday 17th November. Dr Anis will offer his perspectives on the dramatic events that have unfolded this year in Egypt and will share something of how the Church has continued to be a source of love, hope and practical support in the midst of turmoil and uncertainty. The event, entitled ‘Revolution Road: The Church’s Response to the Arab Spring’, begins at 7:30pm and is open to all.

During his visit, Dr Anis will also meet with MLAs at Stormont and will spend time with friends and supporters from CMS Ireland Link Parishes. On Sunday 20th November, Dr Anis will preach at the morning service at Hillsborough Parish and in the evening, he will be speaking at Kilmore Parish.

Cork Installation

At Evensong on Sunday past the Rev’d Rupert Moreton, former Anglican Chaplain, Helsinki, Church of England Diocese in Europe,was installed as the new Dean’s Vicar of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork. The Preacher was the  Rev’d Risto Cantell, former General Secretary of the Department of International Relations of the Finnish Evangelical–Lutheran Church.

Retiring rector thankful for good wishes ‘in abundance’

After 11 years as rector of Castlecomer group of parishes, Diocese of Cashel and Ossory , the Revd Canon Tom Sherlock is retired on october 31. And it’s a time that, he says, has just flown by.

Having been a farmer in his native Cork for 35 years, he was ordained in 1990 and served in the parishes of Limerick and Templemore before coming to Castlecomer in 2000.

He decided to make the change from farming to ministry, he said, because “God was in my ear the whole time. He kept after me until I said yes.”

Yet it didn’t feel strange to take up the new calling, he recalls.

“I suppose you could say I took to it like a duck to water,” Canon Sherlock says. “I love meeting people. I love helping people, in their joys and their sorrows. I have touched the lives of a lot of people in the last 21 years and they have touched mine, because ministry is never one-way.”

His role of rector meant meeting plenty of people over the years, which certainly helped him and Hazel, his wife of 42 years, to settle in and become part of the community. “When I came here I knew nobody,” he says, although “it’s strange that as time went on you’d have family connections with here, there and everywhere. It was really enjoyable, the last 11 years here.”

What he has most enjoyed in his time in north Kilkenny, he says, is “serving people, generally”.

“I love working ecumenically and working with fellow priests in the surrounding areas, who were always very kind and hospitable to me since I came here, and I hope I have built some bit of a bridge here and there,” he says of the community in which he worked closely with the Catholic priests in the area, often performing blessings and other events together.

“The amount of good wishes that are coming through from the whole community is just incredible, unbelievable,” he says. “I have got them in abundance.”

Hazel has likewise been actively involved in the community, notably through the Mothers Union an international Christian charity that supports “families of all faiths and none” through outreach, prayer and advocacy of family-friendly policies within government and public life. She is currently its all-Ireland vice president and locally has also served as diocesan president, secretary, and action and outreach officer.

And now they are preparing to return to their native Cork.

“I am going back to where I was born,” Canon Sherlock says of Kildorrery in north Cork. He has gone back to visit over the years, but still “it will be a culture shock, and it will be a big adjustment from not having to work to a diary.”

Among the village’s claim to fame, in addition to being the inspiration for the song Famous Kildorrery Town, is the fact that it’s where Cow and Gate baby food was started in 1886, Canon Sherlock points out.

“As a young chap they had a creamery and I delivered milk to the creamery with a donkey and cart,” he recalls, and later did so with a horse and cart and then with a tractor and trailer. Their presence will be missed in north Kilkenny, however.

“In the past 11 years they have made a tremendous contribution to the community, not just within the Church of Ireland but also the wider community, and both of them were very much identified with the community from the time they arrived here,” says Mons Michael Ryan, PP Castlecomer.

“Over the years there has been a great ecumenical spirit following on from the work of our predecessors,” Mons Ryan says, noting that they have shared pulpits and ecumenical blessings for occasions such as the opening of the local library and the refurbished courthouse. Two years ago they also travelled to Northern Ireland together to pray in the two cathedrals in Armagh and at St Patrick’s grave in Downpatrick.

“They made a wonderful contribution to the social fabric of the town,” added Cllr Maurice Shortall. “They got involved with numerous voluntary organisations and certainly put their shoulder to the wheel in terms of charitable and deserving causes.”

Obituary: Rev RH Boyd

The Rev Robert Henry (Roy) Boyd who spent seven years in Drumcree as curate and served as as Rector of Annaghmore and Lissan in Armagh diocese has died after a short illness.

Mr Boyd passed away in Craigavon Area Hospital surrounded by his wife Dorothy and family. There are three sons and three daughters – Royanne, Merville, Ruthette, Gareth and twins Wynona and Derwyn. Mr Boyd also leaves 17 grandchildren. Their marriage spanned over 49 years, the couple having been wed in Dungannon Baptist Church in the summer of 1962.

Originally from Killymaddy Knox at Granville Road, Dungannon, the young Roy Body also came from a family of six – again three boys and three girls – and is the first to pass away. He is survived by sisters Phyllis, Laura, and Mildred and brothers Reggie and George.

After attending the local Granville Public Elementary School, he worked for a spell at a Dungannon warehouse and in his father’s printing works which was located at the family home. After that, he began his Christian ministry, firstly within the Church Army. He was attached to Drumcree at that stage, underwent a two-year course in London and then returned to Northern Ireland.

He then decided to prepare for thew ordained ministry, and after studying with Archbishop James McCann and in Dublin, he was appointed Curate at Drumcree alongside the Rector, Rev John A. Ford. He was ordained at his ‘home’ church, St Anne’s in Dungannon, on the same day as Canon Noel Battye, who presents ‘Sound Sacred’ on BBC Radio Ulster. It was Archbishop McCann’s last act of ordination.

Mr Boyd remained at Drumcree for seven years and was then appointed Rector of Annaghmore. His down-to-earth attitude suited the rural parishes, and his talent for listening to people’s problems – and helping everyone on an equal basis – and his one-to-one skills endeared him to everyone.

His final parish, Lissan near Cookstown, was his longest and his final period of parochial ministry. He remained there for 23 years and again his personality admirably suited the rural setting. There was an expanse of land with the Rectory and, having an innate love for farming, he kept horses on the land, including a couple of Clydesdales which were his pride and joy.

Other pastimes included shooting and fishing, gardening and woodwork, and he and Mrs Boyd were dedicated supporters of the ‘Fields of Life’ organisation which helps the children of Africa. They visited East Africa three times to see and support the work, and contributions in lieu of flowers are for the charity.

They also loved caravanning – they especially enjoyed their caravan at Kilkeel. Mr Boyd finally retired five years ago at the age of 70 and it was then that his life turned full circle when he and Mrs Boyd settled in Killymaddy Knox where they built a new bungalow on the site of the old Boyd homestead. They settled into a happy, relaxing retirement when he concentrated on his love for gardening.

Sadly, his health took a downturn a year ago and he became seriously ill recently, culminating in his death last week. People from all his former parishes attended the funeral service at St Anne’s, Dungannon, when the church was filled to capacity.

It was primarily a service of thanksgiving for a much-loved minister and was conducted by the Rector of St Anne’s, the Rev Andrew Foster. Three of his family paid tributes at the service and the hymns were ‘Praise My Soul’, ‘When the Roll is Called up Yonder’, ‘The King of Love’, ending in the Nunc Dimittis and ‘The Sweet By and By’.

Burial was at his former Lissan Parish Churchyard, and he was the first to be interred in the newly-consecrated ground at the foot of the Sperrins.