To mark the 150th Anniversary of Christ Church, Kilmore, we have asked some past rectors to share a biographical sketch of their life, ministry, and memories at Kilmore & Inch to accompany our ‘wall of past rectors‘.
After university where I studied History I spent 2 years in Portugal teaching English as a foreign language in a language school. I had considered the ordained ministry since my late teens and attended a selection conference for training and was accepted.
I wanted to become a rector because my faith had become important to me in my mid teens. I had found a real joy and peace through finding a relationship with Jesus and I wanted to be able to share this with others. A big question for me was could I do this more effectively as a teacher but I eventually came to the conclusion that the best way for me to do it was through the ordained ministry.
I have incredibly happy memories of my time in Kilmore and Inch. I think my ministry there was about trying to bring people together, to build them up in faith and to learn from them. It was also about trying to identify people’s gifts and enable them to use those gifts in the service of God and in the service of others.
It’s hard to narrow down my favourite memories as there were many.
My highlight is probably getting married 6 weeks after I arrived and how welcoming the 2 congregations were to Vicky and myself as a newly married couple. Our first child Lucy was born there in 2008 with some considerable difficulties. I remember a group of ladies from both congregations beginning a prayer chain and committing to pray each day at 1pm for 5 minutes for Lucy and for our family. It was a beautiful gesture and deeply appreciated. When she spent her first 9 weeks in hospital I would often come home to find parcels of food on the doorstep and when she eventually got home she had 140 cards to greet her.
I remember at that time also the late Richard Savage, coordinating an amazing passion play between the 2 churches for Holy Week services which were very special even though I couldn’t do anything to lead them.
I remember the Kilmore players and their special performances in the War memorial hall, I remember the wonderful atmosphere for worship in both places and the commitment of people to doing voluntary work around the grounds, caring for others and praying for those in trouble.
I remember a series of Advent services where we went to the 3 pubs in Crossgar to answer questions with the local Roman Catholic Priest from Crossgar, Fr. Kevin McMullan. We called it everything you ever wanted to ask about Christianity but were afraid to and the questions piled in from boxes placed in our local churches and the pubs.
I remember the strong sense of community, the willingness to reach out and try new things and people’s patience with the new rector!
Since leaving Kilmore and Inch I became rector of St.Finnian’s, Cregagh in 2009. We have had another child since then, a son, Conor who is 11. During the pandemic we have invested in new technology to allow us to live stream our services. I have started a weekly blog called ‘church without walls’ and a weekly podcast called bitesize chunks of faith.