Revd Henry Blair to be instituted as Rector of Magheraculmoney Parish, Ardess.
Revd Henry Blair to be instituted as Rector of Magheraculmoney Parish, Ardess.

The Revd Henry Blair, curate-assistant in Magheraculmoney Parish, Ardess, Diocese of Clogher has been appointed as rector of the parish. Revd Blair will be instituted by the Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Jackson, as Rector of Magheraculmoney Parish at a service of institution on Thursday 17th February 2011 at 8.00pm in St Mary’s Parish Church, Ardess, the preacher will be the Revd Canon Sam Wright, Rector of Lisburn Cathedral.

Reverend Blair, a native of County Fermanagh, has lived in the county all his life. Having grown up in Letterbreen, Henry was involved in Mullaghdun Parish Church, where he was baptised and confirmed. It was during his time there that he trained as a Diocesan Reader with the encouragement of the Revd Sam Wright his then rector. He was commissioned as Diocesan Reader in Mullaghdun parish church on the 4th May 1997, and became a familiar face in many parishes throughout the diocese. He remained a parishioner of Mullaghdun until he entered training for the ordained ministry at the Church of Ireland Theological College in 2001.

He received his early education at the Model Primary school, Enniskillen and Florencecourt Primary School and later attended Portora Royal School, Enniskillen, after which he studied Agriculture at Queen’s University Belfast, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Agriculture degree with Honours. He went on to study accountancy, becoming a chartered accountant and for a number of years followed a career working with Enniskillen accountancy firm, Crudden and Dolan.

In 1991 he married Miss Helen Rutledge from Tempo, and they have four children, Rodney and Nathan who are in years 14 and 11 respectively at Portora Royal school, Keith and Jason who are in year 12 and year 8 at Devenish College respectively.

On 11th June 2004, Revd Blair was ordained deacon by Bishop Michael Jackson in St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen, and served as curate-assistant in the Monaghan and Donagh Group of Parishes under the Rector of Monaghan, the Revd Ian Berry. He was ordained priest on 18th May 2005 by Bishop Jackson in St Patrick’s Parish Church, Monaghan, and in 2006 moved to Magheraculmoney Parish as curate-assistant under the previous incumbent, the Revd Chancellor Eric McGirr.

Commenting on Revd Blair’s appointment, Bishop Jackson said “the Reverend Henry Blair is a native of the diocese of Clogher. Henry has served the church and the community in many ways prior to ordination. Henry’s two curacies gave him considerable experience of life and ministry in the countryside, in County Monaghan and County Fermanagh respectively. I have great pleasure in welcoming Henry and his family to a new sphere and phase of ministry and look forward to conducting his institution as rector of Magheraculmoney in mid-February. I commend him, his family and the people of Ardess to your prayers.”

Revd Blair is actively involved in the life of the diocese, as a member of Diocesan Synod he serves on both the Diocesan Council and the Diocesan Sustentation and Finance Committee, and is a member of the Church of Ireland General Synod. He is also a member of the Diocesan Youth Council.

Revd Blair is looking forward to the new challenges that the next few years will bring as he and the parish seek Gods purposes for the parish, and Revd Blair says he is “excited about the future and is looking forward to ministry opportunities that God will open up for the gospel in the parish and beyond”.

Magheraculmoney Parish Church is located in Ardess, approximately two miles from Kesh and Ederney. A number of new families have joined the parish in recent years, and the number of parishioners at Easter 2010 totalled 930 people, with 136 children attending Sunday School.

The historic St Mary’s Church dominates the local landscape, and the first rector of the parish was recorded in 1439. Records state that the church was originally built during the fourteenth century and subsequently underwent extensive alterations during the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The graveyard surrounding the Church is immediately recognisable as an ancient pre-plantation graveyard, which is divided in two by a huge fourteen foot wide trench grave, known as the Famine Pit, the 120 foot long sunken grave was used for burial during the Great Famine of 1845–1850.

Located across the road from the church, Ardess Parish Centre, which opened in 2001, provides excellent facilities to support the many activities which the parish run. The parish also have a small Church Hall which it established in 1957 in the townland of Mullaghfarne, located approximately five miles from Ardess.

The Old Court House located on Kesh Main Street, adjacent to the Rectory, was recently purchased by the parish to provide a venue for church meetings and activities in the village of Kesh. On the outskirts of Kesh, the Fountain Youth Centre which was established in 2000 provides a range of youth activities. Work will shortly commence on a substantial replacement building providing drop-in facilities, meeting rooms, sports hall, toilets, showers and kitchen provision. It is anticipated that the new facility will open in September 2011.

Each Sunday morning, two services take place in the parish church, a more traditional service and a more contemporary service, and Evening Prayer is held once a month in Mullaghfarne Hall. Over 300 worshippers attend the various services in the parish each Sunday. In addition to the organist and choir leading the worship at services, a number of worship groups are drawn from 15 musicians and vocalists, and short dramas are written and performed at occasional services.

Proverbs 29v18 reminds us that growth comes as a result of a clear vision and the parish vision can be summed up as "Love God, love each other, love the lost” that finds its outworking in four words win, consolidate, disciple, send. To win people to Jesus Christ, to consolidate people in the faith and into the Church, to disciple people in the Word of God, and send people as leaders.

Prayer is at the heart of the life of the parish and includes a monthly 24 hour prayer, a weekly ladies prayer morning, Sunday morning prayer prior to church services, weekly revival prayer, prayer walking, and a text prayer request system. Each Friday night a ministry of healing takes place from 7.30 to 8.30pm praying for the specific needs of those who come along, and also following the Sunday services, prayer ministry is available, for those seeking prayer.

The parish encourages discipleship through small group meetings that are based around the cell group ministry concept, where biblical values are taught and experienced. The cell groups focus on Jesus being at the centre of all that we do, and meet weekly in each other’s homes.

The Mothers’ Union meet each month, and Friends in the Afternoon, which is the parish’s senior citizens group, meets twice each month.

Other activities in the parish include Divorce Care, the Alpha Course, Walking Group and Historical Society.

Youth is an important focus of the parish, in addition to Sunday School and the Confirmation Group, young people are involved in Waterworks after school Bible Club in the primary school, Ardess Little Lambs Mother and Toddler Group, Sunday morning Crèche, Girl Guides, Boy Scouts and the Fountain Youth Centre. A number of young people from the parish also attend Summer Madness and the Diocesan J1 weekend each year.

A number of parishioners are involved in overseas mission on a regular basis, around the world.

Parishioners are kept informed through a weekly news sheet and the parish website,, where a Podcast carries recordings of the previous six sermons. CD recordings are made of all services and are distributed to the housebound and other listeners.