Revd John McDowell new Bishop of Clogher
Consecration of the Revd John McDowell as Bishop of Clogher


The newly elected Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Revd John McDowell, was consecrated at an ordination service with Holy Communion in St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen on Friday 23rd September 2011. This was a joyful occasion as we welcome our new bishop and his wife Mary and their daughter Dorothy into our diocese.

The consecrating bishops were The Most Revd Alan Harper, Archbishop of Armagh; The Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, Archbishop of Dublin, The Rt Revd Harold Miller, Bishop of Down and Dromore; The Rt Revd Ken Good, Bishop of Derry and Raphoe; The Rt Revd Trevor Williams, Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe; The Rt Revd Patrick Rooke, Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry; and a number of retired bishops including The Rt Revd Lord Robin Eames, The Rt Revd Brian Hannon, The Rt Revd Dr Sam Poyntz, The Rt Revd Edward Darling, and the Rt Revd James Mehaffey. Also consecrating were the Rt Revd Suheil Dawani, Bishop of Jerusalem, and the Rt Revd Ingeborg Midttømme, Bishop of Møre in the Church of Norway, representing the Porvoo Communion of Churches.

The preacher at the service was Bishop Dawani, who began by emphasising the “warm and mutually supportive relationship” which existed between the Dicoeses
Referring to Jesus’ words “Feed my sheep”, from St John’s Gospel 21:15-17 which was read at the service, Bishop Dawani expressed to the new bishop the hope that those words would “ring in your ears for the remainder of your ministry as Bishop of this Diocese.”
There were numerous ecumenical guests at the service, including the Revd Troy Morgan of the Presbyterian Church; the Revd Ian Henderson, President of the Methodist Church; the Revd Ken Lindsay, President-designate of the Methodist Church; the Most Revd Dr Liam MacDaid, Roman Catholic Bishop of Clogher, along with a number of colleagues from their respective denominations.
Among the special guests was the Earl of Erne, the Earl and Countess of Belmore Viscount and Viscountess Brookeborough, Mrs Arlene Foster MLA, Mr Tom Elliot MLA, Mrs Heather Humphries TD, together with a number of representatives of Fermanagh District Council, Monaghan County Council, and Clones Town Council.
The cantor for the service was the Revd Precentor Noel Regan, and the organist was Mrs Gill Spence, who was assisted by Mrs Angel Nawn. A combined choir represented a number of parishes in the diocese.
The service concluded with refreshments in the Cathedral Hall, where Mr John Irvine spoke on behalf of the diocese to welcome the new bishop. Thanks were extended to the Dean, the Very Revd Kenneth Hall and the Revd Alistair Warke, along with the diocesan office staff for organising the service.

Transcript of Bishop Dawani’s sermon:
Being here this evening is a great honour and joy for me. Your previous bishop, now Archbishop Jackson, has been and continues to be a close friend whose commitment to supporting the Christian presence in the Land of the Holy One is very much appreciated. I have met so many members of this Diocese through the pilgrimages he has led that I feel right at home among you. â??My hope, of course, is that we will be able to continue this warm and mutually supportive relationship between the Diocese of Clogher and the Diocese of Jerusalem in the future. I am very thankful to Archbishop Harper for his invitation to be here with you tonight and to offer a few words on this most holy and solemn occasion. â??My brother John, you have been chosen by God to be a servant in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. You have served your people as a faithful pastor and priest. You have provided good and godly counsel to your people, your fellow clergy and your bishop. Now, you have been chosen for a new servant ministry as bishop of the Diocese of Clogher. This is a joyous occasion for you, your family and the clergy and people of this Diocese. In addition, it is a joyous occasion and privilege for me to be with you this evening as we gather to ordain you as a Bishop of the Church.
The celebration tonight, and for the enthronements, in not just one, but two cathedrals in the coming days, lift our hearts and awaken our hope for the future. Each event is full of imagery and ceremony which stirs our souls. Each service will gather hundreds of faithful people who are hungry for the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am here to say to you that after the ceremonies are over; after the best wishes and profound prayers are offered; after the emotion of the moment has passed, there will come a Monday morning when the reality of what has been done to you in the name of God will sink in. â??My hope is that the words of our Lord to Peter ring in your ears for the remainder of your ministry as Bishop of this Diocese. Jesus asked Peter three times, ‘Do you love me?’ Peter affirms his love of Jesus each time by saying, ‘You know that I love you.’ Jesus then says the words which I hope you will remember, Jesus said, ‘Feed my sheep.’ You will be called upon in so many ways throughout your life as a Bishop of the Church.Your calling, first and foremost is certainly to love God with all of your heart and mind and soul, and your neighbour as yourself. Building upon that love and commitment to Christ is the calling to always and in all ways to feed the sheep under your care in the name of Christ.
They are hungry, these people of yours, they are hungry for your example of what they see as you walk humbly with God. They are hungry to see how the light of Christ shines through you. The glory of God, as St Paul writes, shines in the face of Jesus Christ and you, as an icon of Christ, show that light in your life. It is the light of Christ which has the power to free us from the darkness of doubt, anxiety and fear. Your people are hungry for your message of reassurance, challenge and hope. We cannot escape the truth that people are watching you. They are watching you in hopeful expectation of how the Holy Spirit will reveal the power of God in love through your life as their Bishop. They are watching to learn through your commitment to Christ about how to bring Christ’s light to their homes, churches, neighbourhoods and the world. Bishops help feed their sheep when they remind the sheep that God sent his only Son to save the whole world and not just this Diocese.
Part of my being here tonight is perhaps a reminder that the light of Christ shines in the darkest corners of the world to bring hope to people in despair. St Paul writes words from his own experience which we heard earlier: ‘We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies.’ St Paul knows the truth of what he writes. You, here in Ireland know the truth of these words from your own experience. My people in my Diocese in Jerusalem and throughout the Middle East also know this truth in our ministry. The good news of our faith is found in the power of love which is the resurrection and the life to which we are called in Christ. Who will proclaim this good news? Who will take the leadership to remind with power and conviction that death is not the answer; that God has the last word and God’s word is life eternal for all who will believe. My brother John, feed our Lord’s sheep.
We thank God that you are not alone in this responsibility. You stand on the shoulders of earlier bishops whose faith and integrity have provided a sure foundation and cornerstone for your ministry. We thank God for the faithful saints of the past throughout the history of Christianity here in Ireland and from Jerusalem. The importance of supporting and inspiring your people cannot be exaggerated. However, sometimes the light of Christ brings light to places which are very dark indeed. There are times when being a bishop requires making tough decisions. You will find that some of these decisions make you unpopular with some of your people. This is not a surprise. There are times when the shepherd must be tough on the wolves that seek to devour the sheep. After prayer and good counsel with trusted advisors and our Lord Jesus Christ, take heart in doing what is right in the eyes of God.
The expectations of the people about what makes a ‘bad’ bishop or a ‘good’ bishop are too often rooted in what makes them happy as human beings and not what makes them holy as followers of the risen Christ. While it is true that bishops can feel alone in their responsibilities, return often to the living water of Christ for refreshment and renewal of your spirit and your vision of servant leadership which comes from the life of our Lord himself.
There are times when you may find yourself feeling like a shock absorber as the demands and expectations which surround you come along like large bumps in the road. Bishops must, from time to time, absorb the shocking demands made upon them. The best bishops accept this with patience, compassion and mercy. God’s people are in need of a healer for their wounds and sometimes that is yours to provide.
In the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, you have been entrusted with this ministry of being a bishop with and for your people. Perhaps the greatest gift you have to offer is your willingness to be among your people as a healer and reconciler. This ministry is close to my own heart and a priority for me. The same might be for you here. I know that for us in Jerusalem we believe that if peace can come to a city which is holy to the three Abrahamic faiths, peace could be possible for all of God’s creation. The progress made in Ireland for peace for the future of your children and your children’s children is an inspiration to us in Jerusalem. When the Irish come to visit us, I am always encouraged because you understand the destructive power of division and hatred. You also understand the power of hope coming out of the hard work of renewing relationships built on mutual respect, tolerance and understanding.
The light of the risen Christ is seen in the hope of peace among people who have known conflict. When Jesus tells Peter to ‘feed my sheep’ I cannot help but believe that the vision of all of God’s children living in peace with their neighbours is powerful food indeed. My brother, may God bless you in this new and exciting development in your life. May God bless your family as they continue to be with you and for you in this journey. May God bless the clergy and people of the Diocese of Clogher as you continue to embrace ‘the God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness”, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.’

Clogher Cathedral Enthronement

Bishop McDowell will subsequently be enthroned in St Macartan’s Cathedral, Clogher, the ancient seat of the Bishop of Clogher, at a service of Evensong on the Fifteenth Sunday after Trinity, Sunday 2nd October 2011 at 4.00pm.

Enniskillen Cathedral Enthronement

The bishop will then be enthroned at a special youth service in St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen on the Seventeenth Sunday after Trinity, Sunday 16th October 2011 at 4.00pm.