Institution of new Rector of Rossorry


A large congregation filled Rossorry Parish Church in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh on the evening of Friday 20th March 2015, to mark an important milestone in the life of the parish, as they welcomed their new rector, the Revd Dr Ian Ellis, who was instituted by the Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Revd John McDowell.

Prior to taking up the position in Rossorry, Dr Ellis served as Secretary to the Church of Ireland Board of Education NI. The preacher at the service of institution was the former Archbishop of Armagh, the Rt Revd Lord Robin Eames OM.

Ian comments: 'I am really pleased and honoured to be appointed to Rossorry parish and look forward to getting to know the parishioners. It will be a great privilege to live and serve God in the beautiful surroundings of Enniskillen.'

Commenting on Ian's appointment, the Bishop of Clogher, the Rt Revd John McDowell, said 'I am delighted that Dr Ellis has become the rector of Rossorry. He brings many gifts to the parish and to the diocese. Along with his many friends throughout the Church of Ireland I wish him well as he and Heather settle into parish life.'

Assisting the bishop at the service were the Venerable Helene Steed, Archdeacon; the Diocesan Registrar, the Revd Chancellor John Stewart; and the Revd Canon David Skuce, Rural Dean of Enniskillen. The Bishop's Chaplain was the Revd Sampson Ajuka, the Organist was Mrs Catherine Irwin and the parish choir along with the parish praise band led the singing. Guests from other Churches included Monsignor Peter O'Reilly, Fr Brian D'Arcy and Mr Gareth Hayden. Mr Tom Elliott MLA represented civic Society.

The processional hymn was Praise, my soul, the King of heaven, which was authored by Henry Francis Lyte who was educated at Portora Royal School, which is located within the parish of Rossorry. Mr Denzil McDaniel, a parishioner, read the Old Testament reading from Isaiah chapter 6. The praise band led the singing of Psalm 23, and Dr Ellis' son Mark read the Epistle from Ephesians chapter 4. The gradual hymn was Be still, for the presence of the Lord, and Mr Alan Houston, a parishioner, read the Gospel reading from St John chapter 10.

The Archdeacon, the Venerable Helene Steed presented Dr Ellis to the bishop for institution, after which all joined in the well known Irish hymn Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart.

During the commission all sang the hymn Lord, you give the great commission. Garry Clarke, representing 1st Rossorry Scout Group, read a sentence of scripture from Psalm 122 at the church door; Carol Livingstone, representing Rossorry Sunday School read from St Matthew 28 at the font; Lorraine Simpson, representing Rossorry Mothers' Union read from Philippians 4 at the prayer desk; Avril Armstrong, representing 1st Rossorry Guide Group, read from 2nd Timothy 3 at the pulpit; and George Elliott, representing the Select Vestry, read from 1st Corinthians 11 at the Lord's Table.

After the commission and prayer, the newly instituted rector introduced the Peace and then all joined in the hymn Ye servants of God, your master proclaim. The rector led the prayers, the offertory hymn was From heav'n you came, helpless babe, and the final hymn was We have a gospel to proclaim.

Everyone was invited for refreshments after the service to Rossorry Parish Hall, during which a number of speeches were made. Master of ceremonies was the Revd Canon David Skuce, Rural Dean, and speakers included Mr Malcolm Dawson, from Loughgall and Grange parishes where Dr Ellis previously served as rector; Mr Gareth Hayden representing the Methodist Church; Mrs Dorothy Wilson, Parish Honorary Secretary on behalf of Rossorry Parish; Monsignor Peter O'Reilly on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church; Fr Brian D'Arcy on behalf of the Graan Passionist Monastery; the Revd Dr Ian Ellis and finally the Bishop. The evening concluded with all joining in Third Collect of Evening Prayer.

Rossorry Parish

The name Rossorry (Ros-airthir) has been linked with monastic and church history in Fermanagh since the 5th Century. At that time the name was linked to a convent set up by St. Fanchea, who was born of noble birth at Rathmore, Clogher. Rossorry at that time was in the townland of Lisgoole (Lisgabhail) and the names remained linked through a series of monasteries on the site. In 1626 a new church was built of cut stone with a thatched roof. Some of this stone survives until the present day, incorporated into the small building on the south side of the church, known as "The Stables". At this time the Estate of Lisgoole was in the hands of the Jones family and passed to Robert Johnston, who along with his mother, Mrs Henrietta Field, became the chief patrons of the Parish in the 20thCentury. In 1841 the new Church was built at Mullinacaw (where it presently stands) to replace the old building at Lisgoole which was "beyond repair and too small for the use of the 2,232 souls of the Parish."

Rossorry Parish lies in central County Fermanagh, located on the outskirts of Enniskillen town. It has a wide age of parishioners totaling 1,138 with many involved in the local community. Within the parish there is a close fellowship with an active and thriving farming community. Recent Incumbents have had a strong working relationship with our neighbours at the Graan Passionist Monastery. There are ongoing efforts to open and sustain dialogue to enhance good community relations in the area.

The Parish comprises a Church, Church hall, Stables meeting room, Rectory and sizable Parish office. The Church accommodates approximately 400 people.

Rossorry Parish promotes and supports a varied and thriving range of activities and groups. These include Church Choir and Praise Band, Prayer Group, Sunday school and Creche and Pastoral visitors. Organisations include Scouts, Guides, Beavers, Brownies and Rainbows. Adult groups include Mothers Union, Wednesday Club, Bowling, Mother and Toddler group, Menzone and Arts and Craft.

A Parish Stewardship campaign was completed in 2014, focusing on Time, Talents and Treasures. This campaign has been successful in involving more parishioners and engaging more volunteers to assist in most aspects of parish life.

The Parish maintains close links with Jones Memorial Primary School, with the Incumbent usually serving as Chairman of the Board of Governors. Other schools located within the Parish include Portora Royal School and Willowbridge School. Schools within the locality include Devenish College, Erne Integrated College, Collegiate Grammar School and the South West College of Further Education.

The Parish is blessed with the services of two recently admitted Parish Readers, a retired Non-Stipendiary Minister and Retired Canon. There is also a group of Church Readers and a number of others who assist with the chalice during Holy Communion.

The Revd Dr Ian W. Ellis

The Revd Dr Ian Ellis had been appointed as Rector of Rossorry Parish. Rossorry, which is the second largest parish in the diocese of Clogher, is located on the outskirts of Enniskillen. The vacancy arose during the early summer when the previous incumbent, the Very Revd Arthur Barrett, took up the position of Dean of Raphoe.

Dr Ellis served as Secretary to the Church of Ireland Board of Education NI before taking up the appointment in Rossorry. He graduated from Queen's University Belfast in 1979 with a BSc in Physics, completed a PGCE and taught in Antrim Grammar School until 1986 when he began training for the ordained ministry in the Church of Ireland. He graduated from Trinity College Dublin and the Church of Ireland Theological College in 1989 with a BTh and was ordained to serve as curate assistant in St Mark's Armagh from 1989-1991. He was then appointed rector of the grouped parishes of Loughgall and Grange also in Armagh diocese, where he remained until taking up his current position in 2002. He completed a Doctorate in Education at the School of Education at Queen's University Belfast in 2013 and his topic was a study of the relationship between pupils spiritual development and school ethos.

In his previous role he advised the Board of developments in education in Northern Ireland and represented it at all levels of education in Northern Ireland. He worked closely with the education secretaries of the Presbyterian and Methodist churches through the Transferor Representatives Council (TRC) of which he is secretary. He also provided advice to parishes and dioceses on the implementation of Safeguarding Trust - the Church's child protection code. His work also supported children's ministry including being a member of the organising group for the Building Blocks Children's ministry conferences.

Ian is married to Heather and they have three grown up children: Mark, Timothy and Naomi. Mark and Timothy are solicitors working in the City of London. Naomi is in her final year of studies in Durham University. Mark is married to Judith who is an optometrist.

Heather and Ian lived in Portadown and worshipped in Seagoe parish in the Diocese of Dromore. Heather is a Human Resource professional and has retired from the Southern Health and Social Services Trust. Heather is currently Coordinator of Fund raising and Communications for Down and Dromore Diocesan Mothers' Union. Her other interests include: Rotary International, volunteering with: the Trussell Trust Food Bank, and Roots of Empathy' - a classroom programme for primary school children.