Commisioning of Diocesan Youth Officer
Clogher Diocesan Youth Officer Commissioned.

A large congregation gathered in the Cathedral Church of St Macartin, Enniskillen at 7.30pm on the First Sunday of Lent, Sunday 13th March 2011, for the launch of the Diocesan Wells Youth Ministry Project and the Commissioning of Mr Jonny Phenix as Diocesan Youth Officer for the Church of Ireland Diocese of Clogher, by the Bishop of Clogher, The Rt Revd Dr Michael Jackson.

Jonny is a former Sports Science Lecturer, and most recently served as Youth Minister with Magheracross Parish and Ballinamallard Methodist Churches. An active person in the youth work scene for the past three decades, Jonny brings to the post a range of experience in faith based work with young people. During his teaching career, he worked at a variety of educational establishments including Methodist College Belfast, Monkstown Community School, Portora Royal School and the South West College. Married with three grown up children, Jonny played an active role in the Youth Fellowship at Darling Street Methodist Church Enniskillen for many years, and was involved with Enniskillen Youth for Christ and the monthly Mannafest youth rally. He also took responsibility of Fermanagh College Christian Fellowship for a time, and served on short term mission with Youth With A Mission, leading two outreach teams to the Philippines and Japan.
Jonny says “I am looking forward to serving with others in this new position. The Wells Project offers a great opportunity for the growth and development of youth ministry in parishes throughout the diocese. There are already many good examples within parishes and I hope to be able to help others to establish their own.” Jonny has experience of working with a range of youth organisations including uniformed, non-uniformed and faith based youth groups. Commenting on his appointment, the Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Revd Dr Michael Jackson said “I am delighted that we have appointed Jonny to this position. He brings a broad range of experience and is highly thought of and held in great affection in Ballinamallard where he has been engaged in youth work. The Wells Projects adds a new dimension to youth work in Clogher.”

As Diocesan Youth Officer, Jonny will focus on youth ministry throughout the diocese, which includes most of counties Fermanagh and Monaghan, together with a small section of counties Tyrone, Leitrim and Donegal. One of the key aspects of the post which Jonny will undertake will be the development and promotion of the Wells Project, a new diocesan initiative which will endeavour to improve, develop and initiate ministry to and amongst young people throughout the diocese. It will aim to establish new activities for young people which will nurture Christian faith and identity, and provide gathered fellowship, teaching, support and encouragement, with a view to the contribution to parochial, diocesan and national church life and society which young people can make. The Diocesan Youth Officer will also support existing youth work which takes place in the diocese, such as uniformed organizations. He will interact with schools, and complement existing youth ministry in parishes, bringing additional expertise and ideas to youth leaders, supporting the work of the diocesan youth councils and helping coordinate events for the whole diocese.

As previously stated, the Wells Project will be the responsibility of the newly appointed full-time Diocesan Youth Officer, and over the next three years the project aims primarily to help establish and encourage youth ministries for young people aged 12-18 and 18-30 across the diocese. It will also seek to provide ongoing support, resourcing and training for youth leaders associated with these youth ministries as well as those involved with uniformed and non-uniformed youth groups. The project will be an advocate for the needs of young people as part of the larger church and seek to encourage them to play an active part in their church and wider community. The hope is to generously establish new ministries and support existing works where genuine needs meet with local willingness.

The commissioning service was conducted by Bishop Jackson and the Dean and Rector of Enniskillen Cathedral Parish, The Very Revd Kenneth Hall. The Bishop’s Chaplain was the Revd Anita Kerr, the organist was the Cathedral Organist, Mrs Gillian Spence, and the singing was led by the choirs of St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen and The Priory Church, Killadeas. Before the service the Bells of the Cathedral were rung by the Bell-ringers of St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen.

The procession was led by the Verger, Mr Jack Watson, and included the Churchwardens and Choristers, along with a number of Parish and Diocesan Readers and Clergy from across the Diocese. Jonny and a number of young people from across the Diocese also joined in the procession.

The concept of the Wells Youth Ministry Project was inspired by Isaiah Chapter 35 verse 7: "The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water;….." Tying in with this, each parish was invited to nominate a young person to participate in the service. During the processional hymn, Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart, young people from across the diocese came forward with some soil, symbolising the “ground that shall become a pool” and also demonstrating the diversity of parishes in the diocese where the Wells Project will potentially have an impact. The soil was placed around the base of a potted Rowan Tree, a tree that is associated with St Macartan the patron saint and first bishop of the diocese, Macartan meaning "son of the Rowan Tree." The tree also represents new life and growth, which will, with God’s help, be a lasting legacy of the Wells Project.
Jonny brought forward a bowl which was made in Bethlehem, containing water from Lough Erne. This represented the “springs of water”, and acknowledged the importance of the Erne waterway for the establishment of the early Church and first Christian communities in this region.
The bishop brought forward a chalice, also made in Bethlehem, containing water from the River Jordan in the Holy Land, again tying in with the “springs of water” and the importance of the River Jordan as the site of Jesus’ own baptism.
With water being a symbol of life, together the bishop and Jonny watered the soil around the tree.
The tree will be transferred from its pot and planted along with the soil in the churchyard of the cathedral to mark the beginning of the Wells project in the diocese.

The greeting was said by the Dean, and the invitation to worship was based on the words of Isaiah 35:5-7, and was followed by the hymn Lead me, Lord, lead me in thy righteousness. The Old Testament Reading from Isaiah chapter 12 verses 1-6 was read by Jonny Phenix, Diocesan Youth Officer, and was followed by the hymn version of Psalm 42 As the deer pants for the water. This was led by members of the worship groups from Magheraculmoney Parish, Ardess and Enniskillen Cathedral, with Mrs Helen Blair playing the piano along with Nathan and Keith Blair on guitars. The Epistle from Revelation chapter 7 verses 13-17 was read by the Revd Kyle Hanlon, Rector of Fivemiletown with Kiltermon and a member of the Wells Project Committee. A drama entitled
‘ As worthless as water’ which was written especially for the service by Dr William Holmes, was performed by Adam Wilkinson and James Eames and narrated by Karl Saunders, all members of St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen. The Gospel from St John chapter 4 verses 1-15 was read by the Venerable Cecil Pringle, Archdeacon.

The sermon was preached by the bishop, during which he expressed his best wishes to Jonny as he takes on the role of Diocesan Youth Officer. The bishop also paid tribute to the Revd Kyle Hanlon for having the vision to establish the Well’s Project. The sermon was followed by the hymn Lord of the Church, we pray for our renewing, after which all joined together in an Affirmation of Faith by taking part in the Renewal of Baptismal Vows.

One poignant part of the service, involved the confirmation of Jonny by the bishop. This was a specific request of Jonny’s to be confirmed. Jonny was presented for confirmation by the Revd Chris Matchett, Rector of Magheracross Parish, Ballinamallard, where Jonny has worked for the past few years.

The bishop commissioned Jonny as Diocesan Youth Officer, and after the commissioning young people from across the diocese came forward to offer congratulations to Jonny, and received from him a small wooden cross made of olive wood from the Holy Land, to remind them of their part in the service and to remind them of the ultimate sacrifice Jesus made for us all. During this time the worship group sang The power of the cross, and members of the congregation joined in the singing.

The prayers were led by the Dean, during which the people of Japan were remembered having suffered the consequences of the catastrophe of earthquake, tsunami and nuclear explosion. The Thanksgivings were led by Miss Joyce Clingan, Mrs Diane Wright-Kendrick, and Mrs Sharon Hamill, all members of the Wells Project Committee. Sharon is also Youth Ministry Development Worker Northern Ireland with the Church of Ireland Youth Department.

The offertory hymn, led by the worship group, was "These are the days of Elijah", and proceeds from the collection were for the benefit of the Wells Project. The blessing was said by the bishop, and the Amen was sung by the choirs. The final hymn was To God be the glory! Great things he has done! Everyone was invited for refreshments after the service in the Cathedral Hall.

One of the first events which Jonny will be involved with is the annual St Patrick’s Day Service and Charity Walk in Ballybay, which is organised by the Diocesan Youth Council County Monaghan Region. And from Friday 25th to Sunday 27th March, Jonny will be involved with the annual J1 Youth weekend in the Share Centre, Lisnaskea. This event is organised by the J1 Diocesan Youth Council, and is open to all young people in Year 8 and above. This year the guest speaker is Clare Woodward, who is a youth minister in Ballynahinch.

A number of other special services will take place shortly in the diocese, on Thursday 31st March the Revd Noel Regan will be instituted as Rector of the Clogher Cathedral Group of Parishes at 8.00pm in St Macartan's Cathedral, Clogher, and on Monday 4th April 2011 the Revd Rosemary Logue will be instituted as Rector of Trillick and Kilskeery Group of Parishes at 8.00pm in Kilskeery Parish Church.

On Sunday 10th April 2011 a special Farewell Service for Bishop Michael Jackson will take place in St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen at 7.30pm, to which a warm invitation is extended to everyone. This service will mark the conclusion of Bishop Jackson’s time as Bishop of Clogher, a position he has held for the past nine years. Bishop Jackson will take up the position of Archbishop of Dublin and Glendalough on 11th April.

Bishop Michael Jackson and Mr Jonny Phenix, Diocesan Youth Officer at the Commissioning Service in St Macartin’s Cathedral Enniskillen .