Archdeacon Cecil Pringle takes last service after 52 years of ministry


At the presentation of gifts to Archdeacon Cecil Pringle following his last service.

The longest serving rector in Clogher Diocese, Venerable Cecil Pringle, Archdeacon Emeritus, has conducted his last service after 52 years of ministry in the Church of Ireland, most of which were spent in the diocese.

A native of the Clones area, Co. Monaghan, he began his ministry with his curacy spent in St. Donard’s Parish, East Belfast, becoming Rector of Cleenish Parish, Bellanaleck in 1969. He later moved as Rector of Rossorry Parish in 1980 after which he was appointed Bishop’s Curate of the Drumkeeran Group in 2008.

The service, in Drumkeeran Parish Church, Tubrid, part of the parish grouping of Drumkeeran, Muckross and Templecarne, where Archdeacon Pringle has been in charge for the past 10 years, took place on Sunday morning, February 25 with a Service of Holy Communion when the main celebrant was the Bishop of Clogher, Right Revd John McDowell.

Representatives from the three parishes in the group; Violet McCutcheon, Muckross; Catherine Fitzpatrick, Templecarne and Ethel Aiken, Drumkeeran read the lessons.

The hymns were “Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,” “Great is thy faithfulness” and “We come as guests invited.” The organists were Irene Boyd and Gillian Stevenson.

The Drumkeeran Men’s Group sang “How great thou art” and the Sunday School sang, “All things bright and beautiful.”

Bishop McDowell in his address at the service, welcomed members of Archdeacon Pringle’s family to the service and paid tribute to his 52 years to church ministry.

The Bishop said that over the years, Archdeacon Pringle had carried out his ministry in his own particular way but in a context of rural parish ministry.

The Bishop spoke of the Archdeacon’s long commitment as a member of the executive committee of the Church of Ireland and referring to his rural parish ministry, the Bishop said Archdeacon had led his ministry in a special context, visiting people in their homes to show that God cares and that was a ministry that Cecil had carried out with great diligence.

He also referred to Archdeacon Pringle’s work for community relations and said that it was one of his strengths to heal wounds and to hold out the hand of friendship.

At a lunch in the hall following the service, farewells to Archdeacon Pringle were made by representatives of the three parishes.

Catherine Fitzpatrick from Templecarne thanked Archdeacon Pringle and wished him a well-earned retirement. She said they were delighted that he had served the last 10 years of his ministry with them and they were grateful for his devotion and faithfulness each Sunday.

William Lowry from Muckross parish said Archdeacon Pringle had carried out his ministry so efficiently and in such an approachable manner.

Lisa Thompson, secretary of Drumkeeran, said it was with a heavy heart that they said farewell to Archdeacon Pringle whom she described as a humble and unassuming man.

She said he took great delight to see the children of the Sunday School performing at his farewell service as well as taking part in special services.

Joe Morton and William McCutcheon, churchwardens, as well as Sunday School representatives Matthew and Ryan Strong, handed over gifts to Archdeacon Pringle and Mrs Pringle.

Archdeacon Pringle, in his reply, thanked everyone for their kindness and said he felt privileged to minister in this part of the diocese. He said that over the past 10 years he had received great support and encouragement.

He revealed how he had found the last few weeks emotional, calling with the housebound as he had done on a regular basis but finding it difficult to say goodbye to these people.

“I have been so fortunate to work for 52 years and I am grateful to God and to you,” he added.
Bishop McDowell who was MC for the presentations, said Archdeacon’s retirement would leave a huge void in the diocese and he would miss him personally for his support and advice.