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 was celebrated by the Ven. Chris Long. Also present was the former dean of Ferns, the Very Revd Leslie Forrest.
The lessons were read by Mr George Spencer and Mrs Linda Long, wife of the rector.
The music was led by the organist Ms Hilda Plant and trumpeter Mr Anthony Nolan.
The Sermon was given by the rector.
Following the service various presentations were made.
The Revd Chris Long explained that George Spencer was also retiring and that they had decided to ‘go out’ on the same day. They both have background in the Royal Air Force and George had been a reader not only during Chris’ time but also five years before that. Chris made a presentation to George and Sarah Rigley from the parish of Clone offered a bouquet of flowers to Mrs Rachel Spencer.
Chris said that George had been very much involved in the building of the new rectory and for all his contribution to the parish, everyone was truly grateful and Chris on behalf of all thanked him for his help and involvement.
George thanked everyone and said he and Rachel had spent 17 happy years in Enniscorthy – in the 29th house they had lived in since they were married!
Mr Joe Smith from Monart spoke of Chris and he said that Chris had been rector and friend to all and it was with heavy heart that goodbyes were said this day.
On his watch the group of parishes became a Union, improvements to the churches and the property and more recently the completion of the refurbishment of the Church Institute.
All of this included being seconded as Archdeacaon covering Wexford, Waterford and part of Tipperary. Chris was also the main mover behind the amalgamation of the dioceses in the singe Diocese of Cashel, Ferns and Ossory.
Chris could always be depended on to accomplish with a smile and a sense of humour. Joe thanked Chris for his care of everyone, ministry to the sick whether at home or in hospital, his presence in times of joy and in time of sorrow.
His work was acknowledged with the young and at the national and secondary schools.
His sermons in particular were well worthy of intense listening.
Chris encouraged ecumenical connections throughout the area among many other attributes. Joe wished him and Linda many happy years in their retirement and hoped they would keep in touch with the parish. With that he presented a cheque and a booklet of farewell messages and photographs to Chris on behalf of the Union.
Mr Colin Levinstone also presented Chris with a framed set of photographs of the five churches.
Ms Holly Rothwell presented Linda with a bouquet of flowers.
Mrs Fiona Reed member of the Board of Management spoke on behalf of Enniscorthy National School and expressed gratitude to the Archdeacon.
In his ten years involvement with the school he brought patience, compassion and a sense of humour to the task of looking after and developing the school. He will be sorely missed and she made a presentation to him on behalf of the Board.
Members of the British Legion also made a presentation.
Robert Stotesbury paid tribute to Chris for his ministry and for his help to Robert over the past five years and wished him well in retirement to which Chris replied.
Chris concluded by thanking everyone and that he was grateful and touched for all the kind words expressed. Although he was retiring from office he and Linda were not going too far away – to live in Rosslare – and he hoped the connection between them and the parish would be maintained.
Everyone then went across the road to the Institute where tea and refreshments were served.
Not one but two ‘retirement’ cakes were on display and duly cut by Chris and Linda and which was then enjoyed by all.
As the Longs take their official leave of the Union, the Revd Robert Stotesbury steps in as priest-in-charge until such time as the vacancy is filled and the pulpits of the Union are graced by a new rector.