Jan 24

Death of Mrs. Georgina Rothwell

imageIt 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

Jan 24

Institution of Rev. Nicola Halford

imageOn 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.

Jan 23

Death of Mr. Herbie Sharman

herbie picIt 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.

Dec 26


10243_1724784254418902_3207109002891604134_nPictured 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

Dec 26

Awards at Synod


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.

Other awards:


















Dec 25

Diocesan Synod 2015

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.

IMG_7440Remembrance and apologies

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.

IMG_7427Mr 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.

Glebe Property

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.

First Motion

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.

IMG_7437Second Motion

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.

Third motion

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.

IMG_7459Bishops’ Appeal

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.

IMG_7488Dignity in Church Life Charter

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.

New competition

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.’





Dec 25

The Revd Ann Wallace

The Reverend Ann Wallace

(née Marchant) 

1929 – 2015

Abbeyfest 2010 launch 04 copyThe 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, Tim and Matthew, her sister Elizabeth (Gordon), daughters-in-law Marie, Sharon and Jane, sister-in-law Violet (Howard), nieces, nephews, relatives and friends.

Her funeral took place at St. Michael & All Angels Church, Abbeyleix on Friday 16 October 2105 followed by burial in adjoining Churchyard.

Hymns included Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart,’ ‘The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want,’ ‘Here, O my Lord, I see thee face to face’ and May the mind of Christ my Saviour.’


The Address was given by the rector, the Revd Canon Patrick Harvey and he offered this tribute to his

friend and colleague and based on his address:

The Reverend Ann died peacefully in Oakdale Nursing Home, Portarlington on Tuesday 13 October where she received such wonderful care.

We keep Bruce in our prayers, along with Edward, Andrew, Jim & Beth, as well as Ann’s sister Elizabeth and the wider family circle.

I want to pay tribute to the family’s care of her, in particular Bruce, who faithfully and devotedly visited her twice and sometimes three times each day. How appropriate then that her funeral took place on the 62nd anniversary of their marriage, Friday 16 October.

Space will not do justice here to her life and influence, but readers will know of her many involvements with organisations and individuals.

As I said in my address at her funeral she and I would travel together to Dungarvan to the annual diocesan clergy conference. Ann loved the conference … meeting all the clergy from the Diocese, listening to various speakers, contributing to discussions on many issues. One of my abiding memories is of Ann carefully taking notes in every lecture and discussion. We had many conversations on our journeys there and back. Topics were covered which we never got a chance to talk about ordinarily because of the punctuated equilibrium that is parish life.

She told me about her musical father. As a teenager she became interested in sacred music and how it was used during the different seasons in the church year and undoubtedly seeds were sown which would develop into an interest in the varying types of worship later on in life.

Ann loved the ordained ministry, she loved priesthood, and being able to celebrate Holy Communion was very much part of that. Without Bruce’s support, she told me time and again, she would not have been ordained. Ann also told me that celebrating Holy Communion was for her the pinnacle of her ministry as a priest and something she had longed for. She loved enabling people to join in the celebration with her and I quote her ‘to celebrate in their hearts reverently and joyfully’. How appropriate it was that we celebrated Communion at her funeral.

Amongst many other involvements Ann sat on the Abbeyleix Union Select Vestry, as well as Diocesan Council. She was Education Officer of the Mothers’ Union and then their Diocesan Chaplain, as well as becoming one of their Diocesan Trustees. She was on General Synod, and was an Episcopal elector, which means she was for a while one of the people who elected clergy onto the House of Bishops.

All the while being sister, wife, mother, and grandmother amongst many other roles.

I could not have asked for a more supportive or helpful clerical companion and I want to pay tribute to her multi-faceted ministry amongst us. Patrick.

All-Ireland Mothers’ Union President Phyllis Grothier also writes in paying tribute to Ann and her involvement in the Mothers’ Union.  See her words in the MU notes in this edition of the Magazine.





Nov 24

Dean Paul Mooney visits Korea


Dean Paul Mooney with members of TOPIK foundation in Seoul


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 at the moment. However, personally I have some anniversaries this year that I wanted to mark. It is 30 years since I was ordained as a priest in 1985 and 25 years since I was received as a priest in the Anglican Diocese of Busan in 1990. So, after checking the price of flights, I clicked on the best offer and bought the ticket.

Back to Korea

It was a typically glorious Autumn day in Korea when I arrived in Incheon Airport not too far from where Bishop Charles Corfe landed by sea on St Michael and All Angels Day in 1890. Bishop Corfe had been ordained bishop for Korea by the Archbishop of Canterbury but there was no Anglican Church or Diocese in that far away land.

Bishop Corfe and those who joined in his missionary endeavours would concentrate on the port of Incheon and the nearby capital of Seoul and then spread out into other areas. Progress was slow, Britain had no special connection with Korea, Roman Catholicism was already established in Korea for over 100 years by that time and the English missionaries did not display the entrepreneurial earnestness of the Methodist and Presbyterian missionaries who had recently arrived from North America. Nevertheless, the Anglican Church in Korea would carve out it’s own distinct niche in Korean Christianity. The Korean Anglican Church would remain faithful to Bishop Corfe’s Anglo-Catholic churchmanship and it’s strong respect for culture, social engagement and the oneness of the whole of Christ’s church.

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Early Years

In its early years the Anglican mission in Korea was responsible for establishing orphanages and clinics as well as establishing churches, bible and prayer book translation and the training of clergy. It was in connection with the work of the clinics and orphanages that the sisters of the Society of St Peter,  an Anglican women’s religious community, came to work in Korea from England. In time Sr Mary Clare Whitty, originally from Co. Clare but with deep family roots in Rathvilly, would come from England to establish and train a Korean sisterhood. Sr Mary Clare would die as a prisoner on a forced march in North Korea in 1950 during the Korean War but she is well remembered in the Korean Anglican Church and among the Sisters of the Holy Cross who are still very much alive and active as a religious community in Seoul today.

The Gathering

By the time that I arrived in Seoul, over 200 delegates from the Episcopal Asia Ministries in North America had also arrived as well as a delegation from the Diocese of Peterborough in England which is twinned with the Diocese of Seoul. The Episcopal Asia Ministries had taken the opportunity of the 125th Anniversary of the Korean Anglican Church to combine it with their own annual convention and it was interesting to meet some of the people involved in the wide diversity of Asian ministries in the United States and Canada. The Rt Revd Donald Allister led the delegation from Peterborough and represented the Archbishop of Canterbury while the American delegation was led by the Primate of the Episcopal Church, the Most Revd Katharine Jefferts Schori. A large delegation from the Anglican Church in Japan was led by the Most Revd Nathaniel Mokoto Uematsu, Primate of Japan. The Most Revd Dr Paul Kwong, Archbishop and Primate of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Provincial Secretary, the Revd Peter Koon, represented Hong Kong and are certainly not unknown to many in Ireland through the links between Hong Kong and the Dublin University Far Eastern Mission.

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Dedications and service

The main celebration was held on the morning of Saturday 3rd October in Seoul Anglican Cathedral and began in a small garden area of the Cathedral where a bust of the Revd Mark Hee-Jun Kim, the first Korean priest of the Anglican Church of Korea, was unveiled. Seoul Cathedral, which is located in the centre of the vast city, was filled, inside and outside, with clergy and laity for a very impressive communion service with a strong emphasis on mission. The Most Revd Paul Kim, Archbishop of Seoul and Primate of Korea, preached on the message of reconciliation and mission and among the laity reading the prayers of intercession was a Filipina migrant who is now a Korean resident and is a member of a vey active Anglican parish that includes many migrants and people who have immigrated into Korea to work in the dirty, difficult and dangerous occupations (3 Ds) that many South Koreans no longer wish to do. I was privileged to be one of those involved in the distribution of communion. The service ended with an impressive rendering of Amazing Grace in a traditional Korean folk song format.

Human Aid

Part of my purpose in making this trip was to arrange matters related to the Anglican Church’s provision of humanitarian aid to projects in North Korea. To this end I was invited to take part in meetings with the Peterborough delegation to brief Bishop Allister on the situation and work in North Korea. I was also involved with meetings with the TOPIK Foundation, the Anglican Communion’s official outreach to North Korea for peace and reconciliation and aid for humanitarian projects as an expression of this spirit of peace and reconciliation. I would hope to be able to go back to North Korea for a trip at the end of this year or early next year with medical supplies for a clinic in the countryside that we have been assisting for a number of years as well as for a larger clinic in a more remote area that we have be asked to assist. To this end I have had 100 sets of reversible stoles made at a sewing workshop in Rajin City in North Korea and I collected these in Seoul. These sets of reversible stoles, made in North Korea, are now available for €65 or £50 as a way of making the money needed for the medical supplies for the clinics we have been helping in North Korea.

Return to Ferns

Autumn in Korea is particularly nice and the sun was shining as I made the journey on the Airport rail link from Seoul to Incheon on the morning of Friday 9th October. Messages regarding parish and diocesan matters were already coming in from Ferns and Kilkenny on the email on my phone and my mind was partly preparing for preaching at a Harvest Thanksgiving Service in Rathvilly on the following evening and so I thought of Sr Mary Clare whose grandfather had been for 20 years curate of that parish, so far away and yet not so far away.


Nov 24

Climate Change Conference in Kilkenny


‘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, the Venerable Andrew Orr, said the conference would ask about the Christian response to issues of climate change and rural life:  ‘the future of our planet depends on reducing carbon emissions.  How that can be matched with the need to produce more food for a growing population is one of the challenges which faces us all. The Christian response to these issues needs to be discussed and heard’.

The conference was divided into several sections with presentations from invited speakers, a musical interlude and concluded with a question and answer forum.

The welcome:

The Conference was opened by the Bishop, the Rt Revd Michael Burrows who welcomed everyone: those of all denominations and also those from the political world who on the day might lay aside their individual party views to consider the issues that concerns every single person on the planet. In his inimitable way he quipped that he never preached on the subject of the weather as he could never be right either with prediction or by being in agreement with his flock.

Professor John Sweeney:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Conference quickly moved into action with a presentation from its keynote speaker Professor John Sweeney from NUI Maynooth.  Now retired Professor Sweeney is much in demand speaking on climate change and is a member of The Inter-governmental Panel on climate change, which was awarded the Nobel Prize in 2007 for their work.

Professor Sweeney with the aid of maps showed his audience where the world was heading in the next number of years and how it was the underdeveloped countries that were going to suffer most from global warming.  He reckoned we had about 30 years to rectify matters, to reverse the trend.  Use of fossil fuels over the last 150 years was largely the cause since the Industrial Revolution with increasing carbon emissions. These were quickly running out and when they gone – they were gone!

Ireland too, he said would experience climate change and while would not suffer extensive flooding such as Bangladesh, would be noticeably warmer, especially inland.  He suggested that while wheat and other cereals might do slightly better, crops such as potatoes which depend on wetter summers, might not be suitable for Ireland any more. Kilkenny, traditionally with its micro-Mediterranean type climate would be considerably hotter.

He was sceptical about the drive to produce more beef and dairy products in Ireland, as more cattle inevitably meant more methane emissions, despite Ireland’s low carbon production methods.


Ms Lydia Monds from the Church of Ireland aid agency Bishops’ Appeal showed the assembled company the effects of climate change already prevalent in Africa and expanded on her time there and the work being done to help underdeveloped areas and the ways in which crops can be best nurtured in such deteriorating conditions.



Musical interlude:

During the interval, Mr Malcolm Noonan, from the erstwhile Green Party sang some relevant folk songs. Having heard these presentations, the final part of the afternoon was given over to an open forum.

The Debate:

This was expertly chaired by Cllr David Fitzgerald FG along with a panel that included Mr Harold Kingston, IFA spokesperson on the environment and rural affairs, former Government minister Mr Trevor Sargent, Ms Lydia Monds, local well known farmer of organic cultivation Mr Rod Calder- Potts and Professor John Sweeney.

Questions and comments came thick and fast between panel and audience and at times became quite heated as the debate ranged over agricultural issues in Ireland, there being many representatives from the sector present.

All agreed that everyone on the planet was entitled to clean water, whatever about the costs.  Such life supporting facilities varies hugely between the developed, comfortable world and the often struggling developing countries.  Such areas are constrained by severe climates and large populations.

There was much debate on the question of agriculture, specifically relating to Ireland which is primarily an agricultural country where one in four are involved in the industry. The centre of the debate was the  Government’s Harvest  2020 plan: can we reduce emissions if we are also driving up production?

Other issues raised included diversity, level of price and profit, transportation of foodstuffs and the pros and cons of organic farming.  Sustainability is also very important

It was underlined that the use of land is vital; controversially, Prof. Sweeney said ‘it is erroneous to think that the farmer owns the land.  He merely looks after it in such a way that he eventually hands it on in as good, if not better condition than he inherited it.’

The ethical issue:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe conference was organised by a church body so it was natural that the ethical question was raised.

The Christian’s role is to help alleviate poverty and care for the poor.  Bishops’ Appeal has spearheaded this in underdeveloped places in the world since its inception in the 1970s.  The church must continue to maintain an active role and not simply be a self-preservation church and become an irrelevancy.  It must shoulder responsibility and not be afraid to ‘rock the boat.’  In the same way the United Nations have too look globally, not locally.

Finally Cllr Fitzgerald asked the panel, having heard the views of the audience and from their own experience, did they have a feeling of optimism.

Alternatives needed:

They all agreed that internationally the debate has widened and made people and countries aware of the urgency. BUT…  Time is running out.  Those who live ‘comfortably’ at the expense of those who do not, have to come to the realisation that they will have to give up those luxuries that they enjoy but that are rapidly destroying the atmosphere and earth of the planet.

There will have to be a vision for greater efficiency – smart farming for instance.  The earth is suffering from the desecration of the last new decades in particular.  Within 20 years there will be nothing to burn, the earth will have reached the dangerous level of another two degrees centigrade and disruptive weather patterns will become more widespread, causing mass destruction, especially in the poorer areas of the world.


In conclusion and appropriately in Kilkenny College Cllr Fitzgerald referred to Dean Jonathan Swift who said: ‘Whoever makes two ears of corn, or two blades of grass to grow where only one grew before, deserves better of mankind, and does more essential service to his country than the whole race of politicians put together.’

The Ven. Andrew Orr thanked everyone for coming, especially the invited guests and rounded off the afternoon sending all out into the suffering earth reflecting on the biblical context: ‘Stewardship and caring means that change is essential.’

Nov 24

National Ploughing Championship 2015


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 Castlecomer, and looked pleasingly inviting with its colourful aspect both at the entrance and the interior which latter gave the fine appearance of depth to its dimension.  The tent was designed to have an open, spacious feel, and to give a hint, of church at one end: the prayer space, which was entered through a doorway inspired by the Romanesque door at Killeshin.  The Diocese was able to fund the expanded and professional design thanks to a generous grant from the Priorities Fund.


Meeting and Greeting:

Within this area, members of the CFO clergy and lay maintained a rota over the three days to meet and greet people, both known and visitors as they came in from the fray of the crowds and stands for a few moments respite, a sit down and this year were offered tea and refreshments.  Over 800 cups of coffee and tea were served!

The special committee set up to carry out the organisation should be well pleased with their work, it was the largest and best display over the last few years when the Championships have been in the Diocese.

While it was left to the CFO to manage it all on the ground, the Committee acknowledges with thanks the monetary contributions from Priorities and the RCB.  Although locally run, it did represent the Church of Ireland as a whole at the event.


Celebrating Harvest:

The staging and surrounds were decorated to reflect the theme of the tent: the Church of Ireland – celebrating Harvest showing the produce of the land. A mosaic in the shape of a sheaf had been mounted on the wall and visitors were invited to write prayers of thoughts on post-its and attach them to the picture. There was also material on information about the Diocese to look at and read.  Each visitor was invited to put their home location on a map and it was interesting to see where they all came from: as far afield as Ontario!


Visiting Groups:

Other organisations had been invited to display their wares and we had representation from the Boys’ Brigade, the Grils’ Friendly Society, the Priorities Fund, the Mothers’ Union, the Bishops’ Appeal and Cumann Gaelach na hEaglaise.  In addition The Church of Ireland online bookshop: ‘The Book Well’ had a selection of material which could be purchased.


Phone Charging:

A novel idea was the facility of phone battery charging.  On a day when people were wandering the extensive event and having to travel distances to and from their homes, it was useful for them to leave their phone on charge while having a cup of tea and a chat.


Harvest Art!

There was a competition for anyone to draw a Harvest picture on their table mat, and the judges are hard at work as we write coming up with the winning design.


Time for Meditation:

The centerpiece of the prayer space was an area of stones through which trickling water was being pumped: not just a peaceful meditative sound, but a reminder to all of the centrality of baptism in the Christian journey. In this area too was a large Bible which people could read and which was used for the hourly prayer time, which was led by a selection of different people and in which prayers were offered for farming, the local community and all who were attending the championships.  The Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin the Revd Denis Nulty, and Archbishop Charles Browne, The Papal Nuncio, were also invited to lead the afternoon prayers on the Tuesday afternoon.

Comfortable couches and straw bales made this a pleasant place to sit quietly and pray.


Beaucoup d’Entente Cordiale!

We were pleased once again to be beside our neighbours from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin and there was much coming and going between the marquees as a sign of our ecumenical co-operation.  Bishop Burrows, Bishop Nulty and the Archbishop Browne led the prayers together at the official opening of the championships on Tuesday Morning.


Much coming and going was also in evidence between the Diocesan tent and the French Embassy opposite!  This was the Embassy’s first time at the Ploughing and they were very grateful for all the help and advice we were able to give them.  In return, champagne and canapés found their way on occasion to the C of I tent…..



Particular thanks should go to all who served the tea and coffee, were involved in transport of the materials and to the Revd Alec Purser who did so much of the local co-ordination. The special committee set up to carry out the organisation, headed by the Archdeacon, the Venerable Andrew Orr and his assistants should be well pleased with their work,



The MU changes babies!

Not too far way another arena of respite was busily engaged over the three days:  the regular stand for the COI Mothers’ Union was in full swing offering mothers and young children some moments of rest from the crowds and for the very young a baby-changing service.  This has been much appreciated over the years by the young mothers as they toiled through the displays and in need of a breather and attention to their young fledglings.


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