INSTITUTION OF THE REVD TIM IRVINE AS VICAR OF KILKENNY
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 hymn ‘Come down, O Love divine’, also the Dean of Ossory the Very Revd Katharine Poulton who led the service of Evensong, the Dean of Leighlin, the Very Revd Tom Gordon who preached and the Archdeacon of Cashel & Ossory the Ven. John Murray who presented the Revd Tim at his inauguration. The lessons were read by Ms Maureen Lanigan and the Revd Bill Boyce (rector of St Brigid’s, Mallusk, Diocese of Conor). Tim was also supported by his parents Ron and Roberta. Also present were churchwardens Trevor Colclough (Freshford) and Robert Caldbeck (Kilmanagh).
The Choir of St Canice’s Cathedral led the singing and who also sang the anthem ‘Drop, drop slow tears’ with music by Orlando Gibbons from Hymn 548.
At the inauguration the Archdeacon presented the Revd Tim Irvine to serve as Vicar of the Union of parishes. The Registrar, the Revd Andrew Orr read the certificate of nomination and ensured that the declarations as required by the Constitution of the Church and Ireland had been made and signed and which were then witnessed by the churchwardens. This was followed by the Declaration conferring the office of Vicar on Tim. With the Vicar, the Dean and the Bishop facing the congregation the people were asked to support and give encouragement to their new Vicar.
The sermon was given by the Revd Tom Gordon. He began discussing the concept of ‘turning the other cheek’. Christian communities are no better at forgiving than anyone else. Indeed, some of the most unpleasant and ugly relationships are to be found in Christian churches. Why might this be so? Perhaps it is that Christians prefer to be right than to be compassionate, an absolute conviction of what is right and proper, what is the way things should be and how things should be done becoming frozen in judgement.
But happily, that is not the whole story. There are still powerful flashes of grace in the church and in the world around. By not allowing actions and attitudes and relationships to be defined by the behaviour of another the cycle of destructiveness is broken.
Tim Irvine is one who holds before us those same characteristics. The dean has had the privilege of knowing Tim for a number of years now, first as a student, then as a priest in the Dublin diocese and now as a colleague in this diocese. He is now well known in this diocese. He is a person of the alternative vision and independent spirit. Happily he stands that vital distance apart from that aspect of Church which is more about the frenetic business of institutional management than it is about the gospel. He knows the distinction between club and Kingdom.
Tim is also a person of rich experiences, some of them perhaps difficult. He brings an engagement with church which has both joy and also moments of disillusionment. These are experiences to be cherished for, in their very contradiction, there are to be found the deepest and most mature of insights.
And perhaps most of all, Tim is a pastoral person. Like the gospel he brings to us not judgement or a harsh sense of the church’s traditions, but compassion, humour, attentiveness and intelligent empathy. An alternative presence in a harsh world.
A dying parishioner of the dean’s in St Luke’s who was visited by Tim, told hime that a lovely big man had come to see her. Tom knew exactly what she meant. The alternative presence. The kindness, the gentleness, the unfussy companionship of Christ himself.
This way of living our lives is never popular and certainly not easy. It is a particular blessing however when pastors of the church live it in our midst. But such people of graced imagination invite us to transformed lives, transformed values, transformed communities and transformed churches. May God bless him in his ministry among everyone.
At the conclusion of the service the Vicar stood before the Bishop who anointed his hands with oil, charging him with the work ahead for which he had been appointed.
Tea and refreshments were then served in the adjoining hall with much appreciation to all as
Tim begins this next phase of ministry amongst the people of Kilkenny and Union of parishes.
Tim was baptised in his father’s home parish of Bangor Abbey in 1974, and a few years later moved to the newly established parish of Movilla Abbey where his mother was his new Sunday School teacher, and his father later had the task of preparing him and his friends for confirmation. He was confirmed by Bishop Gordon McMullan in 1988.
After completing his secondary education at Regent House Grammar School in 1992, he read English Literature at Queen’s University, Belfast followed by a post-graduate teaching qualification in English and Drama before returning to Movilla Abbey to teach Sunday School. Before beginning his studies at the Church of Ireland Theological College in September 2000, he taught English and Media Studies at Cambridge House Grammar School, Ballymena and worked in Newtownards library.
Tim was ordained deacon in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin in June 2003 and served his curacy in the Christ Church Cathedral Group of Parishes, where he presided at the Holy Communion for the first time on St Peter’s Day 2004 in All Saints’ Church, Grangegorman, following his ordination to the priesthood the previous Sunday. While at the Christ Church Group, he was the assistant chaplain to St James’s Hospital and the next door parish neighbour of Dean Katharine Poulton and now in Kilkenny he is still neighbours of the Poultons.
was appointed the chaplain to Rathdown School, in Glenageary, where alongside his pastoral responsibilities he was co-ordinator of Religious Education and again the next-door parish neighbour of the Poultons. From late September 2006 as well as being full-time chaplain to Rathdown School, Tim was chaplain to the Church of St John the Evangelist, Sandymount. In November 2010 he was appointed to the temporary position of co-ordinator of Religious Education at Alexandra College, Dublin. In August 2011 he left Dublin to spend a year at Mucknell Abbey, a Benedictine Monastery of the Church of England in the Diocese of Worcester and returned to parish life as curate-assistant in Kilkenny in 2012.