Irish news

Movilla Abbey connects with communities at home and abroad; Children’s Ministry Development Officer appointed; Sod Turned on Arklow’s New Parish Hall; Cork appointment; New Chaplain General; New rector welcomed in Donegal  

Movilla Abbey connects with communities at home and abroad

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Despite the occasional shower, many neighbours of Movilla Abbey Church, Newtownards, attended the recent church community fun day. Along with food and refreshments, families were treated to a display of car driving only usually seen in a movie, Aldo the Magician, vintage cars and buses, face painting and much more.

This event was another in a long series of events engaging with the local community including St. Patrick day celebrations and Burns night dinners.

In the evening, in a concert jointly arranged by the Movilla Abbey congregations and Movilla Presbyterian Church. the Fields of Life Choir entertained a full church with their vibrant worship, singing and dancing. In conjunction with the charity, the Church of Ireland congregation is preparing to send a team out to Uganda next August to build a school kitchen and drill a well. Furthermore, as part of the fundraising effort on the day, three intrepid gentlemen had their heads shaved (see below).

The rector Revd Kevin Graham says “At MAC we are mission focused. The monthly service ‘Go Forth Sunday’ (every 4th Sunday) which always has a mission theme, has changed the culture and put mission at the top of our agenda. We continue to look for opportunities to serve God’s people both at home and abroad.”

Children’s Ministry Development Officer appointed

The Sunday School Society for Ireland has announced the appointment of a new Children’s Ministry Development Officer, Ms Lydia Monds who will take up her new role in October 2013.

Lydia is Education Officer for The Church of Ireland Bishops’ Appeal – the Church’s world aid and development programme – a job she will continue in conjunction with her new role. After studying theology at Trinity College Dublin, Lydia obtained her teaching qualifications and worked as a second level R.E. teacher, followed by the role of International Programme Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity Ireland. In this capacity, Lydia wrote and delivered the charity’s development education programme. Lydia led and coordinated Crosslinks Children’s clubs in parishes throughout Ireland during her summers as a student. She has also spent several months volunteering on projects funded by the Bishops’ Appeal in Shyogwe, Rwanda. Lydia is a founding member of the Discovery Gospel Choir and as the choir’s Community Outreach Officer she has designed and implemented its intercultural workshops across Dublin.

Following the closure of its bookshop earlier in the year, the committee has been working hard to continue the ministry of the Sunday School Society, which is over 200 years old. The Children’s Ministry Development Officer is a new position created by the Society to develop and foster a culture within Church of Ireland parishes of prioritising ministry with children. The new Officer will work closely with the Children’s Ministry Network which was established by Standing Committee in 2011. The Network’s role is to support grass roots leaders, diocesan representatives and clergy who are engaged in children’s ministry. 
On accepting the position, Lydia said, ‘I’m excited about developing a role that supports Sunday school teachers and that links societies, committees and agencies within the Church of Ireland all for the benefit and flourishing of children as they engage in church services and Sunday clubs.’

Mrs Heather Wilkinson, Chairperson of The Sunday School Society said, ‘We welcome Lydia warmly to this role. She brings to the position a wealth of experience and we look forward to working with her in what is proving to be a very exciting development not only for the Society but the whole area of Children’s Ministry within the Church.’

Sod Turned on Arklow’s New Parish Hall

Parishioners and friends of St Saviour’s Church in Arklow gathered on Saturday afternoon (September 21) to turn the first sods for their new church hall. Two of St Saviour’s senior members, Harry Annesley and Elizabeth Kinch who are both over 90, got the work underway.

The hall is being constructed in the church grounds and is expected to be completed by autumn of next year.

The sod turning ceremony was preceded by a special Songs of Praise Service in the church. Arklow’s rector, the Revd Nigel Sherwood, told the congregation that the process had been ongoing for many years. He said that they were in a position to build a new hall thanks to the good work of successive treasurers, Billy Shaw, Betty McKeown and now Jimmy Woolmington. They also received a small grant from the Church of Ireland Priorities Fund.

Project coordinator, Jimmy Woolmington, said it had taken a few years to get the project started but thanked everyone who had helped in the work so far, particularly the select vestry for rowing in behind the idea of the new hall. He said the new building would give the parish great scope and he was delighted that friends, neighbours and fellow Christians were present to witness the sod being turned.

Arklow’s Mayor, Tommy Annesley, was also present and recalled many days spent in the Sunday School Hall and Mrs Kinch keeping him in line in Carysford National School. He applauded the vestry for taking on the job.

Cork appointment

The Dean of Cork, the Very Reverend Nigel Dunne, has announced the appointment of the Reverend Canon Ted Ardis as his new Dean’s Vicar at St Fin Barre’s Cathedral, Cork in succession to the Reverend Susan Watterson who is to become Rector of Tralee, Co. Kerry.

Edward George (Ted) Ardis (aged 59) is currently rector of the urban Donnybrook and Irishtown parishes (Dublin), chaplain in St Vincent’s Hospitals in Dublin, and a Canon of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin.  He was previously Dean of  Killala (Co. Mayo), and before that rector of the seaside parish of Ardamine (Co. Wexford). He served two curacies in Dublin – Drumcondra and North Strand, and St Bartholomew’s and Leeson Park.

Ted is from Armagh, where he was a cathedral choir member. He trained in Dublin, where he also studied in the Irish School of Ecumenics. He is married to Hilary, from Merseyside. They met as undergraduates in the SCM in Durham. Both are members of the Third Order of the Society of St Francis. (Its aims are ‘to make our Lord known and loved everywhere; to spread the spirit of love and harmony; and to live simply.’) Hilary is a diocesan reader in Dublin, a committee member of the Dublin Diocesan Committee of the Church’s Ministry of Healing, and was a Mothers’ Union diocesan vice-president in Tuam. They have two sons – John (rector of Abbeystrewry – Skibbereen, Co. Cork) and Paul

New Chaplain General

The Rev Dr David Coulter QHC CF, formerly an officer of The Royal Irish Rangers, has been appointed to be Chaplain-General to Her Majesty’s Land Forces, ranking as Major General, in succession to the Reverend J Woodhouse QHC CF, in September 2014.

Dr Coulter who is from N. Ireland is a former member of QUB OTC, and is a minister of the Church of Scotland.

Connor ordination

St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, was the venue for the Ordination of Roderick Smyth as a Deacon Intern on Sunday September 15.

Roderick is from the Parish of St Gall, Carnalea, near Bangor, Co Down, and will serve as a Deacon Intern in St John’s, Malone.

The new Deacon, who was ordained by the Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, was a chorister in St Anne’s Cathedral and also a Bass Lay Clerk while studying Music at Queen’s University, Belfast. He served as parish organist in St Gall’s for 20 years.

Roderick is married to Rosemary and they have a son and daughter who both live and work in London. For the past 33 years Roderick has worked in education, recently leaving the post of Head of Senior School at Bangor Academy and Sixth Form College. He has also been an examiner with CCEA.

During his theological training Roderick has had experience of parish ministry in different contexts. He has undertaken parish placements in Knockagoney and St George’s, both Belfast, and in St Mark’s, Dundela.

As part of his studies during his Deacon Intern year in Malone, Roderick will be researching a dissertation entitled: ‘Help in the land of forgetfulness.’ This will look at the church’s response to an ageing population and the provision of initial training for clergy and laity in the pastoral care of dementia sufferers in the Diocese of Connor.

Preacher at the Service of Ordination, which took place at 3.30pm on September, was the Rev Michael Parker, rector of the Parish of Carnalea.

New rector welcomed in Donegal

The Church of St Ninian’s in Convoy, Co Donegal was filled to capacity on the evening of 12 September. The occasion was the Institution of Rev Dr William Long as the new Rector of the Parishes of Convoy, Monellan and Donaghmore.

Dr Long previously served as Rector of Aughnacloy Parish, in the Church of Ireland diocese of Armagh. Bishop Ken Good, bishop of Derry and Raphoe diocese, performed the Institution.

The preacher at the Service was Canon Stuart Wright, Rector of Letterkenny. The local congregation was swelled by many of Dr Long’s former parishioners who made the journey from Aughnacloy. A large number of diocesan clergy and lay readers also attended.

Bishop Good was assisted by Archdeacon David Huss, in one of his first official duties as the new Archdeacon of Raphoe. Following the Service a reception was held in the neighbouring hall.

Dr Long has a doctorate in Comparative Theology, awarded by Queens University Belfast. Originally a native of Antrim he is married to Geraldine who is from Roscrea in Co Tipperary. They have two grown-up children.