A large congregation filled Colaghty Parish Church near Lack in County Fermanagh to capacity with a substantial overflow to the Parish Hall on the eve of St Patrick’s Day, Friday 16th March 2012, to mark an important milestone in the life of the parish. The parish, which is in the Church of Ireland Diocese of Clogher, welcomed their new rector, the Revd Alan Irwin, who was instituted by the Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Revd John McDowell.
Prior to taking up the position in Colaghty, Mr Irwin served as curate for almost three years in the Grouped Parishes of Kilconriola and Ballyclug, Ballymena, in the Diocese of Connor. The preacher at the service of institution was the rector of Ballymena, the Revd Chancellor Stuart Lloyd.
Prior to his curacy at Ballymena, Mr Irwin spent three years studying at the Church of Ireland Theological College, Dublin. A native of Sixmilecross in County Tyrone, Mr Irwin was ordained deacon in June 2009. Looking forward to settling into life in County Fermanagh as he takes up his first incumbency, he said “I am looking forward to sharing in the ministry with the parishioners of Colaghty as we begin to write a new chapter in the history of the parish.”
Assisting the bishop at the service were the Revd Canon John Stewart, Diocesan Registrar, and the Revd Canon Glenn West, Rural Dean of Kesh. The Bishop’s Chaplain was the Revd Stephanie Woods, an Intern Deacon who is currently serving in Rossorry Parish. The Organist was Mrs Anne Keys and the singing was led by Colaghty Parish Choir together with the parish’s praise band.
The processional hymn was the well known early Irish hymn Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart. The Old Testament reading from Isaiah chapter 51 verses 1-8 was read by Mrs Diane Irvine, the psalm was Psalm 145 verses 1-13, and the Epistle from Acts chapter 16 verses 6-10 was read by Mr Ross Kilfedder. The gradual hymn was The Lord’s my Shepherd, I’ll not want, which was followed by the Gospel reading from Luke chapter 6 verses 20-31, read by Mrs Linda Weir.
The Archdeacon, the Venerable Cecil Pringle presented Revd Irwin to the bishop for institution, after which all joined in the hymn In Christ alone my hope is found.
During the commission, the hymn Lord you give the great commission was sung. As part of the commission, the reading at the open door was read by Mr David Keys, representing the Select Vestry. Aaron Chambers, a representative of the Sunday School, read at the font, and Mrs Heather Kilfedder, representing the Prayer Group, read at the prayer desk. Lauren Thompson, representing the Youth Fellowship, read at the pulpit, and Mrs Muriel Brown, representing the Women’s Fellowship read at the Lord’s Table.
After an anthem which was sung by the choir, the prayers were led by the newly instituted rector. The offertory hymn was Hear the call of the kingdom and the final hymn was To God be the glory!
Everyone was invited for refreshments after the service in the Parish Hall, during which a number of speeches were made. Master of ceremonies was the Revd Canon Glenn West, Rural Dean, and speakers included a representative of Ballymena parish, followed by Mr Marcus Barton, on behalf of Colaghty parish, the Revd Eleanor Hayden on behalf of the local Methodist Church, the Revd Alan Irwin and finally the Bishop.