Clogher Focus Article
Clogher Focus Article
This truly cross-border diocese, comprising of thirty two incumbencies,
and some seventy parishes, includes most of Counties Fermanagh and Monaghan,
along with parts of Donegal, Leitrim, and Tyrone. As an active rural diocese,
the Church plays its part in the wider community, not just at home, but also
in supporting a number of overseas mission projects. Much of the engagement
with the wider local community in recent years has been delivered through
the two Macartan 1500 projects.
During the past year the Diocese has concluded its Macartan 1500+ Programme,
which followed on from an initiative which originally commenced in 2006
to celebrate 1,500 years of Christian witness since the reputed time of
the Diocese’s patron, St Macartan. With the support of funding from
Fermanagh Local Strategy Partnership and the Priorities Fund, the project
delivered a number of activities over a six month period under the coordination
of Mr Walter Pringle. Activities included three heritage tours of key Christian
historical sites in the Diocese, and a weekend of music which provided
organ and singing workshops led by Ian Keatley, Director of Music at Westminster
Abbey’s Choir School, who also gave an organ recital during a performance
which brought together Fermanagh Choral Society, the Western Symphonia
and soloists from the National Chamber Choir.
Bishop of Jerusalem
As part of the project, the Bishop of Jerusalem, the Rt Revd Suheil Dawani,
visited Clogher Diocese for five days in 2008. During his time in Clogher,
Bishop Suheil was guest of honour at a civic reception hosted by Fermanagh
District Council, after which he gave a public lecture at the Ardhowen
Theatre in Enniskillen. The Bishop visited a number of schools in the Diocese,
spoke at a Diocesan MU Festival Service, and participated in a Confirmation
Service in Magheraculmoney Parish, in addition to joining Bishop Jackson
and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Clogher, Bishop Joseph Duffy, for an inter-denominational
open air service at Glaslough, Co. Monaghan on Whit Sunday. Bishop Suheil
also spent some time with individuals who were preparing to visit the Holy
Land as part of two diocesan pilgrimages.
Holy Land Pilgrimages
Since the visit of Bishop Suheil, two pilgrimages from the diocese to the
Holy Land have taken place, the first during Advent 2008 and the second
during Lent 2009, and a third is planned for Easter 2010. These pilgrimages,
which Bishop Jackson leads along with clergy from the Diocese, have attracted
substantial interest, with nearly 100 pilgrims having already travelled
to the Holy Land, and a further 50 planning to travel there during 2010.
Two reunions of those who participated on the Holy Land pilgrimages have
already taken place.
After the first Holy Land pilgrimage and the conflict which escalated in
Gaza over Christmas and the New Year, the Diocese launched an appeal to
raise funds for the Al Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, over £12,000 was
raised by collections throughout the Diocese towards this cause.
Holy Land Medical Relief Fund
Following on from the Gaza Appeal, a number of those who participated on
the Holy Land Pilgrimage have grouped together to undertake an initiative
to raise funds to support hospitals in the Holy Land which are administered
by the Diocese of Jerusalem. Whilst the initiative is only in its formative
stage, already nearly £10,000 has been raised towards this cause.
Despite the financial constraints resulting from the difficult economic climate
through which we live, much has taken place in many parishes throughout
the Diocese in support of overseas and local mission, and as already mentioned
a number of Diocesan initiatives have been developed. During the year CMSI
held a number of sessions to help various diocesan committees to become
more mission focused in their work.
The Diocesan initiative which aims to make a difference in the lives of the
people of Kaduna Diocese through supporting the development of the Jacaranda
Farm in Northern Nigeria continues. The initiative which resulted from
the visit of Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon to Clogher Diocese in 2007
has raised approximately £50,000. During March the Revd Noel Regan,
chairman of the support committee travelled to Nigeria to appraise the
development of the project, and identified further aspects which need support.
Later in the year, Bishop Jackson will travel to Kaduna to lead a Diocesan
The Youth Council in the Northern part of the Diocese organised a “J1
Night Out” in the Killyhevlin Hotel at which IFA Premiership Footballer,
Alan Emerson was guest speaker. The Council also held a weekend training
residential for Youth Council members, and coordinated the annual J1 Weekend
at the Share Centre near Lisnaskea in November. This event was attended by
over 140 young people from the Diocese, and is planned again for November
2009. Also in the autumn, the Council will be running a training and resource
day for youth leaders.
The Youth Council in the Monaghan area of the Diocese organised a successful
fund raising sponsored walk in aid of the Gaza Appeal, and also held an Easter
Dawn Service at St Peter’s Lake in Monaghan.
The Clogher Diocesan Board of Religious Education have produced a new Sunday
School module based on the Apostles’ Creed, which will be launched
at two training evenings for Sunday School Teachers, planned to take place
in June and September. In response to the launch of the new Safeguarding
Trust Handbooks, two information and training events were held in each of
the jurisdictions within the diocese, and in September an information evening
was presented by CIYD and Youthlink (NI).
Yet again many schools in the Diocese face uncertainty in what are challenging
times in the Education sector, and this is an area of much concern in both
jurisdictions, with budget cuts in the Republic of Ireland, and uncertainty
over the future of post-primary education in Fermanagh.
Whatever You Say, Say Nothing
In association with the Hard Gospel Programme, and funded by the Department
of Foreign Affairs, the Diocese launched a report entitled “Whatever
you say, say nothing” at the Diocesan Synod in September. The report
which was compiled by Mr David Gardiner looks at issues surrounding the
protestant community and the impact of the troubles on that community along
the border region. Copies are available from the Diocesan Office.
A number of parishes have been involved in displaying Flower Festivals. In
June 2008, Colaghty Parish, Lack held a festival based on the hymn “Amazing
Grace” by the Revd John Newton. During May 2009, Belleek Parish held
a festival to mark the bi-centenary of the Parish Church, and used the
occasion to unveil a new stained glass East Window. Also during May 2009,
the parish of Fivemiletown with Kiltermon organised a flower festival and
community day entitled “Jesus is the Water of Life”. Later
in the year, Donacavey parish will be holding a “Christmas Tree Festival” a
first in the Diocese of Clogher. And Dromore Parish, which recently celebrated
the 50th anniversary of the consecration of its church, will be holding
a flower festival in April 2010 in aid of “Fields for Life”.
Former Diocesan President, Mrs Margaret Crawford, continues as All-Ireland
President of the MU, whilst Mrs Geraldine Beattie fulfils the role of Diocesan
President. Each June the Bishop hosts a tea party for the indoor members
of the MU, and last summer, the Mothers’ Union held an excellent
Family Fun Evening at Enniskillen Airport (St. Angelo), with many attractions
including helicopter rides!
During summer 2008, the Bishop and his wife, Inez, joined Bishops from elsewhere
in the Anglican Communion for the Lambeth Conference which takes place
every ten years. Also during 2008 the Revd Alison Seymour-Whiteley was
ordained to the Priesthood, and the Revd Charlie Eames was ordained to
the Diaconate, and in June 2009 to the Priesthood.
In addition to organising healing services in various parishes throughout
the Diocese, the Diocesan Ministry of Healing organises lunchtime healing
services on the second and fourth Thursday of each month in St Macartin’s
Cathedral, Enniskillen, and at the end of May held a practical teaching evening
on the laying on of hands ministry for all clergy, diocesan pastoral assistants,
and lay readers.
Six Diocesan Pastoral Assistants continue to work in a number of parishes,
and together with the Diocesan and Parochial Readers, hold a monthly Bible
Study in addition to an annual quiet day for those involved in lay ministry.
During the past year the Revd Arthur Barrett was instituted to the parish
of Rossorry, and the Revd Alan Capper to the parish of Lisnaskea. At the
end of May, the Revd Precentor Brian Courtney retired as rector of Enniskillen,
and in August the Very Revd Raymond Thompson will retire as Dean and rector
of the Clogher Cathedral Group of Parishes.
The clerical association continues to meet monthly, hosting a varied range
of speakers. This year the clergy conference was led by the Very Revd Sue
Patterson, Dean of Killala, on how to stay fit for a lifetime of ministry.
Date: May 09