The Representative Church Body (RCB) has a vacancy for a trainee accountant within its Finance team. This is a diverse role with particular emphasis on investment/fund accounting.
To see more details, click link below.
the Commission on Episcopal Ministry and Structures has produced a report outlining changes to the dioceses of the Church of Ireland. These will come into effect if passed at General Synod in May 2016. Commission on Episcopal Ministry and Structures2016View full post
Our Diocese recently committed to supporting two Literacy projects in Africa through Bishops’ Appeal. you can read all about them here Diocesan Literacy projects 1 Literacy project 2View full post
Please see the information below about the Senior Bishop’s Medal Competition 2016. Senior Medal form copy Senior Bishop’s Medal Students in Secondary Education 5th & 6th Year Students Competition Requirements: The competition is open to anyone attending a secondary school within the United Diocese. Competitors are not required to be members of the …View full post
On Friday 22nd January, Rev. Nicola Halford was instituted as Rector of Enniscorthy and Monart Union. Nicola was previously curate of Wexford and Kilscoran Union, and a large number of her former parishioners made the short journey north to wish her well. Also there were Nicola’s family, including her husband Ronan, her parents, sisters and …View full post
It is with great sadness that we mark the death of Mrs. Georgina Rothwell of Killurin Co. Wexford. She served her parish and our diocese in many ways, particularly her long service as Ferns district secretary. She undertook all her roles with energy, dedication and kindness, and her knowledge of diocesan matters was unsurpassed. ”It …View full post
It is with sadness that we share the news of the death on Monday 11th January of Mr Herbie Sharman. He had been a teacher in Kilkenny College, where he was involved in hockey coaching, and was a former President of the Irish Hockey Union. In the Diocese he was Diocesan Communications Officer, Editor of …View full post
Pictured are Canon Arthur Minion, Wexford and Kilscoran Union and the Very Reverand Aodhán Marken ADM, Wexford Parish as they commence day 2 of their 4 day fast in aid of local charities. The annual Four Day Christmas Fast is an important fixture in the Wexford calendar and this year, it began on Sunday (December …View full post
CFO Website Winners 2015 L-R: The Revd Nicola Halford (Wexford & Kilscoran Union), the Very Revd Katharine Poulton (Dean of Ossory), the Bishop and the Very Revd Maria Jansson (Dean of Waterford). The annual ecological awards Tipperary was the winner in the Environmental motivation category. L-R: The Dean of Cashel the Very Revd Gerald Field, …View full post
Diocesan Synod, Kildalton, 21 october 2015- an overview ‘…and what I say to you, I say to all – keep awake!’ – A sense of Urgency. Eucharist and Bishop’s address The lesson was read by the Revd Alessandra di Chiara and the Gospel by the Very Revd Paul Draper and the music was led on …View full post
The Reverend Ann Wallace (née Marchant) 1929 – 2015 The Revd Ann Wallace passed away in the loving care of the staff of Oakdale Nursing Home, Portarlington. We extend our sympathies to her husband Bruce and Edward, Andrew, James and Beth. She will be sadly missed by her family, her grandchildren Becky, Vicky, Nicole, Ben, …View full post
Former Bishop of Cashel & Ossory, the Rt Revd Peter Barrett died suddenly at his home in Dublin on Wednesday evening. Bishop Michael Burrows paid this tribute… The diocese will want to surround those closest to him with prayers and love, and many will recall the way in which he touched and enriched so many …View full post
KOREAN ANGLICAN CHURCH 125th ANNIVERSARY Decisions When the invitation card arrived from Seoul in early Summer to attend the 125th anniversary of the Korean Anglican Church, I put the card on the mantle piece and thought that it would be nice to go but the flight would cost just a bit too much for my budget …View full post
CONFERENCE: FARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE ‘Water is the new oil’ A major conference on the effects of Climate Change on Farming in Ireland and abroad was held in Kilkenny College on Saturday 4 October 2015 under the auspices of the Environmental Committee of the Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory. The Chairperson of the Committee, …View full post
NATIONAL PLOUGHING CHAMPIONSIPS – RATHENISKA 22 – 24 September 2015 ‘Celebrating Harvest’ This year the marquee for the Church of Ireland and organised and managed by the Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory looked exceptionally splendid with its professionally designed and executed scenery. This was constructed by Mr Harry Harris, theatre designer and parishioner of …View full post
Margaret Stephens All Saints’ Carnew 16 September 2015 Abridged Address given by the Revd Ruth Elmes of Tinahely & Carnew Union It is with some degree of shock that everyone was present remembering Margaret at her funeral. During the tea following the songs of praise on 31 May at All Saints’, (which she helped to …View full post
The new Archdeacon pictured with his sister Penny at St Edan’s Cathedral, Ferns. (Photo Pat O’Connor) ——————————————- St EDAN’S CATHEDRAL, FERNS INSTALLATION OF ARCHDEACON, CHANCELLOR AND TREASURER SUNDAY 6 SEPTEMBER 2015 The new Archdeacon with the two new canons along with the Dean and the Bishop. On this auspicious first Sunday in September history …View full post
The Revd Nicola Halford has been appointed rector of Enniscorthy & Monart Union of parishes. Ms Halford who has been curate in Wexford and Kilscoran Union of parishes since October 2012 succeeds the Very Revd Chris Long who retired at the end of July. A date for institution will be announced in due course.View full post
ENNISCORTHY BIDS FAREWELL TO THE VEN. CHRIS LONG Sunday 24th July 2015 On a typically wet July Sunday, the congregations of the Enniscorthy Union gathered in St Mary’s Church Enniscorthy to pay tribute to their rector for over 10 years. The service was conducted by Assistant Priest the Revd Robert Stotesbury and the Holy Eucharist …View full post
THE GENERAL SYNOD 2015 – ARMAGH – FROM A CFO VIEWPOINT! THE BISHOP WITH THE BOUNCE! It was standing room only for much of this year’s Synod in the vast function room of the City Hotel, Armagh, especially on the middle day when almost. 500 members attended. It was on this day that …View full post
MOTHERS’ UNION FESTIVAL SERVICE 2015 DIOCESE OF CASHEL, FERNS & OSSORY St Mary’s Church, Enniscorthy, Wednesday 29th April 2015. ‘United in Prayer’ Following the processional hymn and still in Eastertide, the Bishop filled the large, well-filled church with his booming voice ‘Alleluia! The Lord is risen!’ To which the congregation of Mothers’ Union …View full post
‘SMILING WHEN THE SHOE PINCHES’ CELEBRATING TRANSFORMATIONAL WORSHIP IN UNHELPFUL BUILDINGS with Richard Giles This seminar with Richard Giles considered the familiar subject of worship in restrictive buildings. It took place on Monday 20th April in St Laserian’s Cathedral, Old Leighlin and hosted by the indefatigable Dean, the Very Revd Tom Gordon. The seminar was …View full post
THE UNITED DIOCESE OF CASHEL FERNS & OSSORY DIOCESE OF OSSORY RATHDOWNEY UNION OF PARISHES THE INSTITUTION TO THE INCUMBENCY OF THE REVEREND RICHARD SEYMOUR-WHITELEY St Andrew’s Church, Rathdowney Sunday 22nd March 2015 Welcome The institution of the Revd Richard Seymour-Whiteley to Rathdowney took place on Sunday 22nd March 2015 with the Procession heralded …View full post
DIOCESE OF CASHEL FERNS & OSSORY DIOCESE OF CASHEL TEMPLEMORE UNION OF PARISHES THE LITURGICAL INTRODUCTION TO MINISTRY IN THE PARISHES OF THE REVEREND ALISON SEYMOUR-WHITELEY (part-time Priest-in-Charge) St Mary’s Parish Church, Templemore Friday 20th March 2015 The Welcome: ‘The Flower of Scotland’ provided the unusual and unique opening to this service of introduction for …View full post
The Bishop achieved his objective on Good Friday last when he visited fifteen railway stations throughout the length and breadth of his diocese – all in one day. Symbolically emulating the traditional stations of the cross, the bishop followed the way of the cross by devising a tight schedule to spend a brief time at …View full post
LORD WATERFORD John Hubert de la Poer Beresford, 8th Marquis of Waterford, passed away on 11th February 2015 and was laid to rest among his ancestors and relatives in Clonagam cemetery on Saturday 14th February, following a memorable ecumenical service in Clonagam church. His remains were received at the church by former rector Canon …View full post
‘LINKING THE CATHEDRALS WITH THE ISLE OF MAN’ THE VISIT OF THE RT REVD ROBERT PATERSON BISHOP OF SODOR & MAN (LINK DIOCESE) Friday 30th January to Monday 2nd February 2015 St Bridget would have been especially pleased this year to see the continued link between the Dioceses of Cashel, Ferns & Ossory and …View full post
Ardaígí bhur gCroíthe – Lift up your Hearts Iomainn agus Carúil Choitianta, as Gaeilge Familiar Hymns and Carols as Gaeilge NEW CD AND HYMNAL LAUNCHED IN IRISH IN KILKENNY Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise launched this CD of 16 hymns and carols, Iomainn agus Carúil Choitianta, as Gaeilge, to meet the needs of the …View full post
DIOCESE OF CASHEL FERNS & OSSORY DIOCESE OF FERNS NEW ROSS AND FETHARD UNION OF PARISHES THE LITURGICAL INTRODUCTION TO MINISTRY IN THE PARISHES OF THE REVEREND MARGARET SYKES (part-time Priest-in-Charge) And her commissioning as Diocesan President of the Mothers’ Union St Mary’s Parish Church, New Ross Friday 16th January 2015 The Welcome: The large …View full post
DIOCESE OF CASHEL FERNS & OSSORY DIOCESE OF LEIGHLIN PARISHES OF BALTINGLASS with BALLYNURE, RATHVILLY & STRATFORD-ON-SLANEY. THE INSTITUTION TO THE INCUMBENCY OF THE REVEREND MÁIRT HANLEY St Mary’s Church, Baltinglass Sunday 11th January 2015 The institution of the Revd Máirt Hanley to Baltinglass took place on Sunday 11th January 2015 with the Procession …View full post
DIOCESE OF CASHEL FERNS & OSSORY DIOCESE OF LEIGHLIN THE INSTITUTION TO THE INCUMBENCY OF THE REVEREND BRIAN O’ROURKE St Peter’s Church, Portlaoise – Friday 9th January 2015 ‘A new coming together as a community and a family’ The congregations from Portlaoise, the Rock (Dunamase) and Ballyfin along with clergy and lay members of the wider, ecumenical …View full post
Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise PREAS RÁITEAS- PRESS RELEASE (ENGLISH VERSION BELOW) Ardaígí bhur gcroíthe Dé Sathairn, 31 Eanáir, seolfaidh Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise dlúthdhiosca nua d’iomainn agus de charúil i nGaeilge. I dTeach Caibidle Ardteampaill N. Cainneach, Cill Chainnigh, a bheidh an seoladh ar 10.30 am. Tá an dlúthdhiosca seo de 16 iomann agus carúl, Iomainn agus Carúil …View full post
DIOCESE OF CASHEL FERNS & OSSORY DIOCESE OF LEIGHLIN STRADBALLY UNION OF PARISHES THE LITURGICAL INTRODUCTION TO MINISTRY IN THE PARISHES OF THE REVEREND ALEC PURSER (part-time Priest-in-Charge) St PATRICK’S PARISH CHURCH, STRADBALLY 5th December, 2014 The Revd Alec Purser pictured with the Bishop following his service of introduction as part-time priest-in-charge to the Union …View full post
The Commissioning and Licensing of Readers Awarding of Theological Certificates Three new Diocesan readers commissioned by the Bishop in St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny On Advent Sunday , 30th November 2014: Mike O’Meara, Ms Nicola Rowan and Mr Jason Smith. ———————- Award of theThird-Level Bishop’s Medal ——————- Advent Sunday 30th November 2014 The Bishop …View full post
– BRIAN O ROURKE to Portlaoise and Ballyfin Union on Friday 9th January at 8 p.m. in Portlaoise. The Reverend MAIRT HANLEY, at present priest in charge in Killorglin, Co. Kerry, has been nominated to the incumbency of Baltinglass. We will welcome him among us at his Institution on …View full post
Annual outing of the Friends of Saint Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny Pat Nolan Bright sunlight provided the perfect backdrop to the popular outing of the Friends of Saint Canice on 20th September last. This time the destination was the town of Kildare and its imposing Saint Bridget’s cathedral. As is now well-established practice, the route taken …View full post
The Mothers’ Union Festival Service Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory ‘Sowing the Future together’ St Michael and All Angels’ Church Abbeyleix Sunday 7th September 2014 The sun shone as if it were the height of summer, all of which brought out the brightly coloured dresses of the ladies of the Mothers’ Union …View full post
MAUREEN CONSTANCE LANIGAN 1945 – 2014 It was with deep sadness that the Diocese learned of the death of Maureen Lanigan in the first week of September following illness. She died at Waterford Regional Hospital Thursday 4th September and her funeral took place on Saturday 6th September, in St Canice’s Cathedral with Requiem Eucharist. Her burial …View full post
St Laserian’s Cathedral, Leighlin – ‘A liturgical laboratory in a large room’ The Service On a balmy evening of Trinity Sunday 15th June, the multitudes gathered to St Laserian’s Cathedral in Leighlin for the Service of Thanksgiving to mark the restoration of the Lady Chapel and the Installation of the Venerable Andrew Orr as Archdeacon …View full post
The Annual General Meeting of the Friends of St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny, 2014 The 100th anniversary of the day that the Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated and which pre-empted the First World War, coincided with the annual Choral Evensong and 63rd AGM of the Friends of St Canice’s Cathedral that took place in Kilkenny on Saturday …View full post
Saothar Chumann Gaelach na hEaglaise molta ag Uachtarán na hÉireann. Bhí baill agus cairde Chumann Gaelach na hEaglaise in Áras an Uachtaráin, 24 Meitheamh 2014, ag fáiltiú speisialta leis an Uachtarán, Micheál D Ó hUiginn, chun saothar an Chumainn a chomóradh. Tá Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise ag comóradh an chéid i mbliana agus ba mhór …View full post
Memories of the World Flower Show Dublin June 2014 by Margaret Kingston Five years ago AOIFA the Association of Irish Floral Artists, a voluntary organisation of people who love flowers and gardening, made a bid to WAFA the World Association of Flower Arrangers to hold the 11th World Flower Show in Dublin …View full post
On Friday 1st August the Revds Andrew McCroskery and the Revd Nigel Kirkpatrick ‘revved’ up their trusty powerful motorbikes and set off on a marathon 3,000km trip around Ireland. Not just a random tour as their itinerary took them to every Church of Ireland cathedral on the island, all in a period of 10 days. …View full post
Templemore Union say farewell to the Revd Canon Peter Cole-Baker on his retirement. ‘A ministry of faithfulness and integrity coupled with dignity and courage’. On a sunny, warm afternoon on 27th July 2014, it being the last Sunday in the month, the people from Thurles and Kilfitmone gathered with the people of Templemore in St …View full post
SENIOR BISHOP’S MEDAL PRIZEWINNERS 2014 2014 Medal winner: Osasu Igbinedion Runners – up: Catherine Burström & Rachel Orr All three are students in Kilkenny College. Thanks to all who took part and congratulations to the 2014 prizewinners. +++++ JUNIOR BISHOP’S MEDAL RESULTS 2014 Congratulations to this year’s prizewinners – 2014 Junior Bishop’s Medal – …View full post
Synod Statistics announced show that 65% on day one attendance falls to 45% on Saturday, the third day, so perhaps the risk might taken that no day in any year will show more than 500? Members still talk about the General Synods held in the Lyrath Hotel in Kilkenny and in Galway when President Mary …View full post
‘A celebration of great and fruitful steadfastness’ A Service of Thanksgiving for Ministry shared with the people of the Parish of Rathdowney Union and of the Diocese of Cashel & Ossory On Sunday 6th April 2014 (Passion Sunday) in St Andrew’s Church, Rathdowney. The weekend of 4th – 6th April was one of particular significance …View full post
It was a great joy to see St Lachtain’s Church, Freshford filled for the Institution of the Revd Tim Irvine as Vicar of the Kilkenny Union of Parishes on Sunday 16th March, the Eve of the Feast of St Patrick. Amongst the large number of clergy were the Bishop who welcomed everyone following the opening …View full post
the Commission on Episcopal Ministry and Structures has produced a report outlining changes to the dioceses of the Church of Ireland. These will come into effect if passed at General Synod in May 2016. Commission on Episcopal Ministry and Structures2016
Please see the information below about the Senior Bishop’s Medal Competition 2016.
Senior Bishop’s Medal
Students in Secondary Education
5th & 6th Year Students
Competition Requirements: The competition is open to anyone attending a secondary school within the United Diocese. Competitors are not required to be members of the Church of Ireland nor attend a Church of Ireland school. Candidates are asked to write (in 75 minutes) an essay from a list of unseen titles. The competition places an emphasis on current affairs in church and society
Competition Date: 7pm Wednesday 9th March 2016 at all venues.
Venues: Kilkenny College OR Coláiste Bhride, Carnew OR Newtown School, Waterford
Applications and Further Information: Further details are available on the diocesan website (http://cashel.anglican.org/) or by contacting Canon Harvey directly.
The Revd Canon Patrick Harvey,
The Rectory, Abbeyleix, Portlaoise, Co Laois.. Applicants may also email firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone (057) 8731243
Application Closing Date: 5pm Tuesday 8th March 2016
(please note extended deadline)
It is with great sadness that we mark the death of Mrs. Georgina Rothwell of Killurin Co. Wexford. She served her parish and our diocese in many ways, particularly her long service as Ferns district secretary. She undertook all her roles with energy, dedication and kindness, and her knowledge of diocesan matters was unsurpassed. ”It is hard to take in that we have lost Georgina Rothwell. She was a person full of integrity, with vast experience particularly of Ferns, and she served the diocese with loyalty, the highest of principles and a distinctive independent – mindedness which made it a privilege to work with her. We will miss her sorely.” said Bishop Burrows.
Our sympathy goes to her family at this sad time. May she rest in peace and rise in glory
On Friday 22nd January, Rev. Nicola Halford was instituted as Rector of Enniscorthy and Monart Union. Nicola was previously curate of Wexford and Kilscoran Union, and a large number of her former parishioners made the short journey north to wish her well. Also there were Nicola’s family, including her husband Ronan, her parents, sisters and many friends from her home in Dublin and beyond. Rev. Arthur Minion, Rector of Wexford preached, reminding the congregation of their calling to ministry through their baptism. Speeches of welcome after the service included Fr. Jim Murphy , CC in Rosslare, and Rev. Stephen Foster, Methodist minister in Gorey. We wish Nicola every blessing her new ministry. She is pictured here with Archdeacon Bob Gray before the service.
It is with sadness that we share the news of the death on Monday 11th January of Mr Herbie Sharman. He had been a teacher in Kilkenny College, where he was involved in hockey coaching, and was a former President of the Irish Hockey Union.
In the Diocese he was Diocesan Communications Officer, Editor of the Diocesan Magazine and Webmaster of this site, all of which roles he carried out with grace, charm, wit and sensitivity.
Bishop Burrows said: “Herbie Sharman was a marvellous magazine editor and DCO – diligent, ever-available, always good humoured. Despite living for years with a serious illness, he served this diocese superbly, working almost to the day of his death. The diocese will miss him hugely and I personally have lost a great friend who has been at my side for ten years”.
His funeral took place in St Canice’s Cathedral, Kilkenny on Friday 15th January
Our deepest sympathies go to his family and all who loved him.
Pictured are Canon Arthur Minion, Wexford and Kilscoran Union and the Very Reverand Aodhán Marken ADM, Wexford Parish as they commence day 2 of their 4 day fast in aid of local charities. The annual Four Day Christmas Fast is an important fixture in the Wexford calendar and this year, it began on Sunday (December 20) at 6 p.m and will run until 6.00pm on Christmas Eve, 24th at 6pm.
This is the fourth year for the Canon Arthur Minion and the first for Fr Aodhán Marken on the steps of St Iberius’ Church during the four day event. Dressed in distinctive black capes and red scarfs, the clergymen endure all elements of our unpredictable Irish weather. The only drinks taken during this period will be water, tea/coffee without milk or sugar. A cup of Bovril for salt or a bottle of Lucozade for sugar may be taken if a person has been advised by a doctor to do so. A takeaway paper cup of soup will be available for each participant from Westgate Design Centre at 1 p.m. daily. No other food is taken day or night for four days.
St Iberius’ Fast was started by Canon Norman Ruddock in 1993 and was then a 2 day Fast. In 1998, Fr Jim Fegan joined Canon Norman Ruddock for his annual Christmas Fast and it then became a 4 day Fast as a sign of ecumenical solidarity in advance of the week of prayer for Christian unity.
This year the charities to benefit are the St Vincent de Paul, Ozanam House Mens Shelter, Wexford Womens Refuge, Wexford Hospice Homecare, Cancer Research and Midlands Flood Victims. Last year, the fast raised €45,200 for charity.
An ecumenical Carol Service will be celebrated in St Iberius Church on Christmas Eve at 4pm.
Please contact me, Louise Evans at 086-3182709, should you need any further information
CFO Website Winners 2015
L-R: The Revd Nicola Halford (Wexford & Kilscoran Union), the Very Revd Katharine Poulton (Dean of Ossory), the Bishop and the Very Revd Maria Jansson (Dean of Waterford).
The annual ecological awards Tipperary was the winner in the Environmental motivation category.
L-R: The Dean of Cashel the Very Revd Gerald Field, the Bishop, and Mr Billy Kingston.
This year we concentrated on the social media side of our Diocese.
Specifically websites and Facebook.
There was no need to request entries and they are all there to see on the internet.
A small sub committee of the Diocesan Magazine committee examined all the sites and facebooks that exist in the Diocese and adjudicated.
Recognition here today is by a presentation of a number of framed certificates, signed by the Bishop, for display in the church porch or somewhere prominently, with a follow up soft copy which will be emailed for display on the winning websites.
For next year
The committee recommends that fund of €5,000 be set aside from the finances of the Diocesan Magazine so that parishes who are either in the process of building their site up or more importantly for those who have no website be encouraged to apply for a grant from the fund. A date will be announced for the close applications for these grants.
The Digital Age!
The ultimate aim is to have every parish with its own website and Facebook page which latter can have a link on the Diocesan and parish websites links visible.
Parish websites can also have a link to digital versions of their parish newsletter present.
Overall spreading the ‘Gospel’!
All this digital news helps to spread the news around the Diocese and beyond.
Hard copy parish newsletters should still continue and there is still demand for the Diocesan Magazine as currently published.
Diocesan Synod, Kildalton, 21 october 2015- an overview
‘…and what I say to you, I say to all – keep awake!’ – A sense of Urgency.
Eucharist and Bishop’s address
The lesson was read by the Revd Alessandra di Chiara and the Gospel by the Very Revd Paul Draper and the music was led on keyboard by the Very Revd Tom Gordon.
With a long agenda and several external presentations, the Rt Revd Michael Burrows restricted himself to a few well-chosen words in his address.
Taking his theme from the day’s Gospel, the Bishop referred to the early Christians gradually having to understand that they were in for the ‘long haul’ and that the end time was not nigh. He explained how Christians have nevertheless to ‘be ready’ at all times, not to lose their sense of urgency in decision-making and to ‘keep awake!
Yet they also needed to recognise that not all apparently urgent things are in fact important.
He commented on how cumbersome and slow the machinery of the Church of Ireland can be to effect change and face up to genuine problems whether climate change or refugee crises. Such matters as are tabled in the business of the meeting to come: millions of refugees are moving now across Europe, next year this country will take a hard look at itself, it values and visions in a series of commemorative event, the problem of carrying the burden of parochial structures working on a very traditional model and taking small but prophetic actions that turns one’s prayers into effective and costly witness to the world. It is vital to discern what urgent matters are important and what are not.
Synodical culture tempts one to sit back and move slowly, whereas the coming Advent season presents a somewhat counter-cultural challenge to wake up, look around one and renew one’s commitment to well-prioritised urgency.
Following the service the Bishop asked the members to recall those recently deceased: Mrs Margaret Stephens (Tinahely), Mrs Rita Carr (Templemore), Ms Bernie Hobbs (Lismore), the Revd Ann Wallace (Abbeyleix) and the Revd John Deacon (Gorey).
Apologies were tendered by those who could not be present.
Thanks was offered to Vice-principal of Kildalton College for all facilities provided, not least the meal to be enjoyed later in the evening.
Sodor & Man
The Bishop also welcomed the Revd Alexandra Die Tiara from the link Diocese of Sodor & Man. Ms Die Tiara thanked the Bishop and Synod for the gracious invitation to be present.
The Bishop welcomed the Diocesan Chancellor, Mr Charles Galloway, to the table for his good guidance and counsel as assessor to the synod.
Following the preliminaries, the business of the day got underway with the subsequent elections taking place: Mr William Galloway was elected as a lay member of the RCB for three years in succession to Mr Clifton-Browne and to whom the Bishop paid a special tribute for so expertly bringing all matter local for negotiation to the RCB and also his keen stewardship of the property of the wider church over the years. The Revd Canon Patrick Harvey was elected to continue as clerical member and Mrs Avril Forrest as lay member of the General Synod Board of Education for the following three years.
The Report to Synod from the Diocesan Council was proposed by Mr Richard Codd and seconded by the Revd Ruth Elmes.
Mr Codd thanked the two Diocesan Secretaries Mrs Georgina Rothwell and Mrs Denise Hughes who along with the Diocesan Council carry out the day-to-day running of the Diocese. He also thanked the Diocesan Accountant, Mr Leslie Moynan, who has to deal with a turnover of some two million euro each year and coax the sustentations from all the parishes. Mr Codd also paid tribute to the Bishop for his oversight of the Diocese, travelling the length and breadth of the Diocese with extraordinary and energetic regularity. He attends occasions both large and small and continually surprises with his imaginative endeavours – this year the ‘Stations in the Stations’ and it is largely due to his care that there are no vacancies at present. He thanked the Bishop for his continued care and guidance throughout the Diocese. Mr Codd went on to mention the question of census figures and how that can interpreted. By sitting on the Finance Committee he observes how much thought goes into the fair application of assessments and where possible the larger parishes helping out the smaller ones. All of this will be discussed at a special meeting of the Diocesan Synod in April 2016.
It is not easy to keep up the payment of sustentation.
Despite approaches to the RCB to have the Diocese regarded as one entity for the purpose of registration under new statutory charity regulation, it still maintains the parish as the preferred option with the expectation that the audit threshold limits will be raised to a suggested figure of €250,000. This presentation drew some debate on the worrying fall in numbers of those attending church on Sundays especially on a week by week as opposed to a casual basis. The figures are stark especially if their implications are projected forward for perhaps another twenty years.
Ferns and Cashel & Ossory North and Cashel & Ossory South. The Bishop thanked the chairs of the various committees and staff on their painstaking work in this.
Also included were the following additions to the Diocesan Rules and Regulations:
In the section dealing with the powers of the Diocesan Council the following clause be inserted:
‘The Diocesan Council shall from time to time determine the level above which expenditure by select vestries on churches, glebes and other parochial premises requires its consent.’ (This to bring the Rules into line with long-established diocesan practice).
Secondly that ‘the terms on which grants are made by the Diocesan Council from the Kathleen Day Bequest to churches in Ossory, Ferns and Leighlin Dioceses should be appended to the Diocesan Rules.’ (Such terms have been in use for some time).
The Report, including the additions, was adopted.
A number of motions touching urgent issues including the encouragement of Synod to welcome a ‘mature and reflective national commemoration of 1916, including appropriate input from the Church of Ireland’. The motion was proposed by Mr Richard Codd and seconded by the Ven. Andrew Orr. Mr Codd reminded members how active the Church of Ireland was at the 1966 occasion and that today it should be involved at parish level making a contribution to national life. There were references to those who had seen commemorations in Europe, 2016 was a chance to mend old wounds both near and far, it was not a time simply of celebration but rather one of regret and penitential reflection. It was also important that history should be correctly understood, especially the fact that many men from Ireland, both North and South died both at home and abroad in the cause of freedom between 1914 and 1923. Many civilians and children also perished in the crossfire.
This was proposed by the Revd Canon Ian Poulton and seconded by the Dean of Leighlin. Canon Poulton realised that some years ago when new ways of ‘doing’ church were under consideration that the best way of mission, particularly in rural communities was the traditional parish model.
He addressed the problem of today’s erratic church attendance not least in small parishes. The financial burden of the present number of incumbencies was becoming unsustainable and demographic trends within the diocese suggest no likely change in the situation.
The Christian Mission was never meant to be about stipend but about local Christian community.
The motion requested the Bishop and Diocesan Council to investigate which clusters of churches might be feasible locations for the deployment of some form of ordained local ministry – the consideration of all this to be reported back to the Diocesan Synod by 2017 so that ministry and mission and not fund-raising are the focus of the life of these small parishes – the parish being the corner-stone of the church.
It also encouraged the General Synod to give urgent consideration to the matter of renewing the provision of local self-supporting ministry.
In seconding the motion, the Dean of Leighlin gave an example of a once thriving set of four parishes in another diocese. Now there is no ministry, the school is gone and the rectory idle. Some kind of provision has to be found for such a case as this. The situation is urgent as other parishes will follow suit and a much more creative, flexible and imaginative response to the community being served is needed. The crossroads has been reached with the mindset still at a post- disestablishment stage.
There still is ministry: NSM, part-time, specialist ministry in hospitals, etc. So there is scope for some form of local ordained ministry. Persuading and affording full time ministry may be getting thin on the ground, but it is all still there encapsulated in Cashel, Ferns & Ossory.
The speakers that followed all endorsed the sentiments of the motion and that time was right for that newly coined acronym OLM. While this may be overcome, there is still the subject of the assessment. There are few curates – in future fewer perhaps may be afforded. Ideas should be paramount. Young people do not simply want full-time ministry – they will follow other paths in life unless the package offered is attractive. The way ‘church’ is done today is 19th Century sitting in a much different 21st Century.
While sport is very healthy for the young, it is not helping church attendance and interest when more and more sporting activities are taking place on Sunday mornings.
The motion did not seek to infer the closure of churches which immediately puts people on the defensive. It is up to the parish communities to make it all work in whatever way is best in mission and ministry – and not always rely or even blame the rectors
The Bishop commented that he hoped that some form of OLM would come through the RCB and the bishops next year. Already here there are several part-time ministries in operation and to bear in mind these are not old style rectors at half the price. It is also incumbent on dioceses outside Dublin and the North East to provide training ground for priests through curacies.
This was proposed by the Dean of Waterford and seconded by Mr John Galloway and concerned a response to the refugee crisis – from providing accommodation and practical assistance and to call on government to work with the voluntary sector to ensure that refugees are genuinely welcomed into local communities. The issue of the many people already in direct provision was also raised. For those in Western Europe there is a sense of ‘creeping powerlessness’. It was suggested that every parish welcome these damaged refugees out of their holocaust into the communities to provide safety, schooling and accommodation. This country has a capacity in its small communities to help these people integrate and feel welcome and Ireland be a living sanctuary and make the stranger welcome into this country. ‘Our Father, Who art in Heaven, Thy Kingdom come…’
In 1945 the Church of Ireland took its discipleship seriously and gave financial help to those suffering from the after effects of the Second World War – this has to be repeated on this occasion.
There are ‘refugees’ native to Ireland as is well known with homeless people living in hotels, etc., and so a final motion received from Mr John Thompson and Ms Cindy O’Shea emphasised the continuing homelessness crisis in Ireland and is the responsibilities of both church and government. It was recommended that parochial units in the Diocese offer personal and practical support to those families who have become homeless in their time of need.
Matters with ‘Standing Orders suspended’
A broader perspective on the Synod’s proceedings was offered by the guest speaker from our companion diocese of Sodor and Man who reminded members not to allow local problems to obscure the range and good effect of so much already going on in the diocese.
Ms Lydia Monds of Bishops’ Appeal brought both passion and perspective to proceedings by introducing projects concerned with the empowerment of women in the developing world which the diocese will be embracing in 2016/17. One in three women in the world have experienced gender-based violence – higher in Africa.
Lydia described that after the earthquake in Nepal, a man from the Philippines who had lost everything in a typhoon gave the equivalent of 30 cents because he so empathised with Nepalese’s devastation and that by so giving reached out and offered him that ‘glimmer of hope’. He gave from his absolute lack – a non-negotiable mandate of one’s faith. Lydia complimented the Diocese of CFO for their wonderful response in times of world need.
She talked of those who help with the literacy programmes: the Mothers’ Union, Feed the Minds and Us. Being literate has so many advantages to manages one’s life. There are 60 million refugees in the world, some forgotten because they are not moving and also remembering the impoverished communities who welcome them in.
The Bishop thanked Ms Monds and encouraged members to the demonstration of stands for reference and interest. Especially this year the Dean of Ferns recently returned from North Korea who brought back some stoles as fund-raisers coloured for all the times of the liturgical year. Proceeds go to the medicine for medical units in North Korea.
Ms Kate Williams representing the RCB offered a presentation on ‘Dignity in Church Life.’ These policies were still in draft form and feedback was being actively encouraged.
The church has always expected people to behave in a rational, reasonable, fair and Christian way but in the real world this is not always so. When this happens there needs to be a consistent approach in dealing with issues using professionally developed policies for a timely response and clear action.
The four key principles of the Charter are (i) supporting dignified relationships, (ii) grounded in the Gospel, (iii) allowing issues to be addressed through policies and principles and (iv) all who participate in church life are expected to uphold the Charter. Ms Williams expanded on these.
There is already a policy in place on grievance with clergy but not policies to manage grievance from clergy. Most complaints (eg: bullying, discrimination and harassment) are dealt with locally but occasionally they need to be taken further if there is no resolution. It also deals with a consistent approach to clergy long-term illness. The draft policies booklet will be sent to all parishes in due course. Consultation has already taken place but feedback is earnestly requested with final draft being brought to Standing Committee this November. Send feedback through the Diocesan Secretaries.
This prompted some reporting of recent unsavoury phone calls being made to female clergy who were assumed to be living alone – a matter for concern, to make it more widely known and for clergy to be on their guard.
Mr Herbie Sharman presented his report in his own inimitable style, managing to thank all who had assisted with the production of the Diocesan Magazine and the various aspects of social media.
Other Diocesan Reports considered and adopted were:
The Ferns Diocesan Board of Education was proposed by the Ven. Bob Gray and seconded by Mrs Margaret Jacob. The Ven. Bob Gray paid tribute to his predecessor the Ven. Chris Long, a beacon of common sense everywhere that he served and will be sorely missed by all. He also thanked the Bishop for his support to the primary schools and for taking his role as patron so seriously. The revision of the retention rate of a second teacher by the Minister is much appreciated ensuring stability of the small schools for the foreseeable future. The election, said Mrs Jacob in seconding, of a suitable and effective Board of Management is so vital.
The Ossory & Leighlin Diocesan Board of Education was proposed by the Ven. Andrew Orr and seconded by Mr Richard Codd;
The Ossory Board & Leighlin Diocesan Board of Religious Education was proposed by the Revd Canon Susan Green seconded by Canon Patrick Harvey.
Canon Green spoke of an addition to the medal competitions. A new scheme for post confirmation second level students will be launched as a non-academic participatory competition on uniting faith and service. This is to be known as the FAST scheme – Faith And Service Together. Parish based the entrants will decide on two areas of practical discipleship and they will present for the award. It will take place over the school year and participation will be signed off each stage is completed – faith based and community service. In many cases this will include what young people are doing already, plus maybe singing in a choir, visiting the elderly, reading lessons, making tea after church, etc. Attending church on its own is not enough. Canon Harvey thanked Canon Green and Mrs Joy Bibby for this imaginative project. It will be piloted in the near future in a small number of parishes before being more widely introduced. The key objective is that participants will sense that committed practical discipleship is valued and celebrated at diocesan level.
He thanked the Ferns Board for their sponsorship of all the medal competitions. And also all those who involve themselves in the children’s choral festival services throughout the Diocese.
The Cashel Waterford & Lismore Diocesan Board of Education proposed by the Dean of Cashel who spoke of the six schools under patronage and nurtures not only the ‘grades’ but also the spirituality and wellbeing of the whole child.
The Report was received from Kilkenny College given by the Principal Mr Simon Thompson. He gave an illustrated guide of the progress of the school, especially with regard to the 5 year Development Plan now well underway. He acknowledged the generous donation given by the school patron body, the Incorporated Society. The new chapel was nearing dedication date and he thanked the Bishop for all his guidance. The Capital Project of a new music and arts centre was under active consideration.
The Report of the Children’s and Youth Ministry was proposed by Ms Gillian Purser and seconded by the Revd Nicola Halford. Ms Purser talked of the regular events that take place during the year and of an upcoming conference in Liverpool in the Autumn. She spoke of the importance of ‘family ministry’ with its modern pressures and this should be acknowledged under the aegis of youth.
The Revd Nicola Halford spoke of the limited support for paid youth workers and that ideas from CIYD, of which she is committee member was not always trickling down to parishes.
The Continuing Ministry and Adult Education was proposed by the Dean of Leighlin and he spoke on Cycle three just completed with much compliments by the external examiners. There are six modules in all and everyone is welcome to participate. The interest generated by CFO has drawn in people from other dioceses. He emphasized the importance of the training of ordained ministry being local and rural and not to be centralized which seemed to be becoming a trend.
The Report of the Diocesan Environmental Committee was proposed by the Revd Victor Fitzpatrick. He acknowledged the input given by Professor John Sweeney and Ms Lydia Monds in highlighting climate change which was becoming ever more acute and that would start to affect the type of farming in Ireland. The world must not reach the point where it is too late to reverse the damage caused by use of fossil fuels which have been employed by people since the Industrial Revolution. Pray and act.
All reports were adopted.
The Bishop invited the Revd Alessandra di Chiara to give her thoughts on the day. She took on board the theme of urgency and that people and mission being the driving force and not economics and structures. However, change is ‘messy’ and the way forward must be considered carefully and to be gentle with one another.
Finally the Bishop closed the Synod by announcing that there would be two meetings next year, one in April and the usual Diocesan Synod on Wednesday 19 October in the Ferns district. He thanked all who had helped in the organization of the day and for members for attending reminding all of the forthcoming Mothers’ Union ‘Vigil’ days and encouraged members to revisit the Book of Reports which encapsulates all the various activities of the Diocese. With that everyone joined in the final hymn of the Eucharist: ‘Go at the call of God.’