Saturday, 24 January 2015

A good day for Church of Ireland, and
a good day for Christ Church Cathedral

Bishop Kenneth Kearon and Archbishop Barry Morgan outside Christ Church Cathedral after this afternoon’s ordination and consecration of the new Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe, with Dean Dermot Dunne of Christ Church Cathedral and Dean Victor Stacey of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

Patrick Comerford

I was in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, this afternoon [24 January 2015] for the consecration of the Revd Canon Kenneth Arthur Kearon as the Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe.

The new bishop has been a canon of Christ Church Cathedral since 1995 and we have worked together on many projects. He has been Secretary General of the Anglican Communion since 2005, and he invited me to be chaplain at the Primates meeting in the Emmaus Centre in Swords, Co Dublin, four years ago.

In 1999, he became Director of the Irish School of Ecumenics, where I was a board member for many years. He has lectured at the Church of Ireland Theological College, and he was one of the people who guided me through the course leading to my ordination. Indeed, sitting in the chapter stalls in the cathedral, I realised that I now move into the stall he has vacated.

This afternoon, the consecrating bishops were Archbishop Michael Jackson of Dublin, Bishop Pat Storey of Meath and Kildare and Bishop Patrick Rooke of Tuam. The other bishops of the Church of Ireland present who took part in the consecration were Archbishop Richard Clarke (Armagh), Bishop John McDowell (Clogher), Bishop Paul Colton (Cork) and Bishop Michael Burrows (Cashel).

The retired bishops who took part included the new bishop’s father-in-law, Bishop Samuel Poyntz (former Bishop of Cork and of Connor), his three immediate predecessors in Limerick, Bishop Trevor Williams, Bishop Michael Mayes and Bishop Edward Darling, as well as Archbishop Alan Harper (Armagh), Archbishop John Neill (Dublin), Archbishop Walton Empey (Dublin), Bishop Kenneth Clarke (Kilmore).

Archbishop Barry Morgan of the Church in Wales was the preacher, and Bishop James Tengatenga, new chair of the Anglican Consultative Council, read the Gospel. The other visiting bishops who took part in the consecration included: the Scottish Primus, Bishop David Chillingworth, Bishop Gregory Cameron (St Asaph, Wales), Bishop Ellinah Wamukoya (Swaziland), and Bishop Edward J. Konieczny (Oklahoma).

Three serving or past presidents of the Methodist Church in Ireland, also took part in the episcopal ordination: the present President, the Revd Peter Murray, and two former presidents, the Revd Donald Ker and the Revd Winston Graham.

This afternoon also saw Methodist presidents take part in an episcopal ordination in the Church of Ireland for the first time since the decision of both the General Synod and the Methodist Conference allowing for the inter-changeability of ministry. The Church of Ireland now recognises Methodist Presidents as Episcopal Ministers, and today’s consecration marks the start of full inter-changeably of ministry between the two Churches.

Bishop Brendan Leahy, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Limerick, and Abbot Mark Patrick Hederman of Glenstal Abbey were there too.

Outside Christ Church Cathedral after this afternoon’s ordination and consecration of the new Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

Later in the day, at the reception in the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Golden Lane, it was good to catch up with so many old friends, including Clare Amos of the World Council of Churches, Janette O’Neill, Chief Executive of Us (formerly USPG), clergy from dioceses throughout the Church of Ireland, visitors from throughout the Anglican Communion, and friends from the Irish School of Ecumenics.

The Radisson Blu Royal Hotel is only a few steps away from Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle, and the Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. As I stepped out into the darkness of the evening, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral was gently lit against the night sky. It had been a good day for the Church of Ireland.

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral as the evening darkness closes in (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2015)

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