The cross-border diocese of Clogher, which includes most of Counties Fermanagh
and Monaghan, along with parts of Donegal, Leitrim, and Tyrone, is a predominantly
rural diocese, with a strong Church of Ireland presence, which enables the
Church to support a number of activities both at home and overseas, and to
maintain an active relationship with the wider community. Each year the Diocesan
Synod meets in different Church Halls throughout the Diocese, last year the
Synod was warmly welcomed to Drumkeeran Parish near Kesh, and this year will
be gathering at Enniskillen Cathedral.
Holy Land Pilgrimages
In recent years, the Bishop along with some clergy from the diocese has led
three pilgrimages to the Holy Land, with 150 people having participated.
The relationship between the diocese and Bishop Suheil of Jerusalem has
provided a personal link with the Holy Land, and provided opportunities
for those participating on the pilgrimages to engage with the Christian
Community there. The most recent pilgrimage took place during Easter week.
Holy Land Medical Relief Fund
A number of those who participated in the Holy Land pilgrimages have grouped
together to drive forward an initiative to raise $100,000US to support
St Luke’s Hospital in Nablus, which is run by the Diocese of Jerusalem.
The fund raising for this cause has been very successful during the past
year, raising in excess of £62,000 at the time of writing. Fundraising
activities have included tea parties in venues such as Belle Isle Castle
and St Patrick’s Hall Monaghan to name a few, and just before Christmas
a number of people from throughout the diocese volunteered for a day of
bag-packing in Tesco Enniskillen.
Also before Christmas, the Revd Noel
Regan and Bishop Jackson spent most of what was a frosty December day sitting
out at Belleek Main Street to raise funds.
Other fund raising events have
included a Diocesan Christingle Service in Maguiresbridge Church, and a
Songs of Praise in Rossorry Church where the organ, choir and the parish’s
newly launched praise band, m-blaze, combined with a packed church for
a marathon session of hymn singing and worship. For the second time in
support of the fund, a Strawberry Tea party will take place in Munville
House, Lisnaskea on 26th June from 1.00–6.00pm.
Much has taken place in parishes throughout the Diocese in support of overseas
and local mission. During the year CMSI have held a number of information
evenings throughout the diocese, most recently with their Roadshow on “Living
a life of love” which took place in Magheracross Parish, Ballinamallard.
A number of parishes have been supporting Fields of Life, with the Children’s
Choir performing in Dromore parish during the autumn, and more recently “An
April Evening of Music and Song” with Bella Voice and Murley Silver
Band in Clogher Cathedral.
The Diocesan Board of Mission ran a number of training events which included
an evening “Exploring Jesus from another angle” which was led
by the Revd Desi Maxwell.
This Diocesan initiative has been making a difference in the lives of the
people of Kaduna Diocese in Northern Nigeria, through supporting the development
of the Jacaranda Farm project.
The initiative which has resulted in a number
of visits to Clogher Diocese by Archbishop Josiah Idowu-Fearon, most recently
last summer, has seen the diocese raise in excess of £50,000 for
this project. It has enabled the support and development of a number of
agricultural activities, and the construction of accommodation facilities,
which have been aptly named “Clogher Hostel”, and were dedicated
by Bishop Jackson on Advent Sunday 2009 when he was visiting Nigeria.
The two Diocesan Youth Councils continue to organise a number of events and
activities. These have included a residential for Youth Council members
and a Youth Leaders’ Training Seminar, both led by Andrew Brannigan,
and a youth praise service in Carrickmacross, to raise funds for the Holy
Land Medical Relief Fund, at which Bishop Jackson preached.
The JI Diocesan Youth Council launched a programme to financially support
young people from the diocese who plan to work with a Christian Church at
home or abroad, and also coordinated the annual J1 Weekend at the Share Centre
near Lisnaskea, which was postponed from November to March, due to flooding.
The team ministry project in Clones Rural Deanery ran a holiday activity
club for the under 5’s, and the Diocesan Youth Council in County Monaghan
organised a successful sponsored walk and Easter Dawn Service.
The Clogher Diocesan Board of Religious Education’s new Sunday School
module based on the Apostles’ Creed was launched at two training evenings
for Sunday School Teachers.
Young people throughout the diocese have been
encouraged to participate in the annual Bishop’s medal and Archdeacon
Ruddell Projects. Long-serving secretary of the Diocesan Board of Religious
Education, Mrs Florence Brunt retired and has been succeeded by Miss Joyce
Whatever You Say, Say Nothing
Following on from the Hard Gospel Programme report entitled “Whatever
You Say, Say Nothing”, the Irish Government Department of Foreign Affairs
have funded a project which will further research and promote community relations
along the border region of which the Diocese is part.
In June last year a special weekend of celebrations took place to mark the
centenary of Dernasesk School, now Dernasesk Hall, in the parish of Drumkeeran,
which included a musical evening at which the Revd Canon Dr William Johnston,
a former pupil of the school was preacher. Later in the summer the Swedish
Choir ‘Kantonia’ gave a performance in Clones, where Christian
Heritage Week was celebrated and included a talk about St Tighernach’s
Church. A War Memorabilia Exhibition took place in Trory Parish Hall to
commemorate the 70th anniversary of the start of World War II, and in October
a Fundraising Dinner took place in the House of Lords, London in aid of
St Tighernach's Church, Clones. Also in October, the 280th Anniversary
of Ematris Church was marked by a special service of thanksgiving. In November
the Bishop opened an exhibition about St Tighernach’s Parish Church
in Clones Town Library.
This year, the annual Pentecost Open-air Interdenominational Service, which
is organised by Bishop Duffy and Bishop Jackson, took place at the Round
Tower Cemetery in Clones, with Bishop Noel Treanor as guest speaker.
Former Diocesan President, Mrs Margaret Crawford, concluded her term as All-Ireland
President, and was recognised for her contribution to the Mothers' Union
at a special service in her home parish of Cleenish. Mrs Geraldine Beattie
continues as Diocesan President, and participated in a MU Diocesan Carol
Service in Galloon Parish. On 4th June the Bishop will host the annual
tea party for the indoor members of the MU.
In addition to organising healing services in various parishes throughout
the Diocese, the Diocesan Ministry of Healing organised a ‘Suicide
Awareness’ evening in the autumn at which the speaker was Mr Max
Hanlon MBE. The Ministry of Healing continue to organise lunchtime healing
services on the second and fourth Thursday of each month in St Macartin’s
Cathedral, Enniskillen, and the Revd Arthur Barrett recently organised
a Marriage Preparation course.
The Revd Charlie Eames was ordained to the Priesthood in June, and in November
the Revd Canon Dr William Johnston was installed as Precentor. During the
past year a number of clergy have retired, these have included the Revd Precentor
Brian Courtney, the Very Revd Raymond Thompson, the Revd Chancellor Eric
McGirr, and the Revd Precentor Dr William Johnston. And a further retirement
has been announced, with the retirement of the Revd Canon Dennis Robinson,
who plans to retire as Rector of Aghavea at the end of the summer. In September
the Revd Kenneth Hall will be instituted as rector of St Macartin’s
Cathedral Parish in Enniskillen, and will also take up the position of Dean